Harrison Takes First MINI Win of 2018 as Rivals Falter

Credit: David Young / MINI UK

After misfortune for his rivals, Nathan Harrison took his maiden MINI Challenge JCW victory of the year around Snetterton. The Excelr8 Motorsport driver moves back into championship contention after a troubled early start to the year.

While Jordan Collard had qualified on pole, a tyre irregularity in which a wrong tyre serial number was recorded by the team seeing him disqualified from qualifying, starting last with a ten second delay. This was fantastic news for championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales who lined up second with his closest rival not posing a threat.

This left Nathan Harrison on pole, holding the lead into the first corner as he held off the pressure from Whorton-Eales. The championship leader had been smoking on the grid, pulling into the pits at the end of the first lap as the engine was overheating due to a belt failure.

With Will Neal and a number of backmarkers involved in a crash during the opening lap, the safety car was deployed, chopping the race time in half.

Harrison was quick to break away from Jac Maybin on the restart, gradually easing away from the young rookie, who soon fell into the clutches of Henry Neal, dropping behind the Team Dynamics entry. This left the race to culminate in a final lap showdown between Harrison and Neal, with the former coming out on top.

Neal had exhausted his tyres in the run to the line, ensuring he narrowly held off the challenge from Maybin, who collected his first podium and Rob Smith, who will be pleased to have picked up a strong result when his championship rivals faltered.

Fifth would go the way of Luke Reade, dropping three seconds off the pace of the leading pack, largely to due with a late challenge from David Robinson, as Lewis Brown came home for a well deserved seventh in front of Privateer Jack Davidson.

Collard would recover to finish fifteenth.

“I’m very pleased with that result. We started first and finished first, so it all went to plan.” started Harrison, who drew a sixth place out of the hat for the reverse grid. “It’s good to get back into the title fight after a rocky start to the year. Tomorrow, I’ll definitely be aiming for the top five, hopefully a podium so we can pick up some solid points.”