Jordan Collard took his second MINI Challenge JCW victory of the year as he won the opening Brands Hatch Indy race from the MINI Festival. The MINI UK VIP driver hadn’t had it easy though, with his championship rivals joining him on the podium.
Having previously secured pole, Collard led the field away who immediately fended off Ant Whorton-Eales in the opening corner. Elsewhere, Henry Neal made one of the best starts, jumping up three places to fifth as Calum King and others bunched up through Druids, dropping the sixth place driver behind the breakaway top five.
Collard though soon settled into the groove. A strong second lap saw him break a second to Whorton-Eales. This proved to be enough with the championship leader forced to focus on the chasing Nathan Harrison and Rob Smith, with the three appearing to hinder each other.
This relief would not last forever as Whorton-Eales closed the gap, almost taking advantage as the lapped car of Steve King sent the leaders in various directions. Collard would keep the lead, but H. Neal again made the best of the situation, taking fourth from Smith.
Problems for S. King would see the #7 be lapped again, once again compromising Collard who found his mirrors filled with the JamSport Racing machine.
Despite the trials and tribulations, Collard would take the victory, as Whorton-Eales took a well deserved second ahead of Harrison, who had been the biggest aggressor in the closing laps. With H. Neal (setting the fastest lap) and Smith completing the top five, the result will go down as arguably the highest class battles of the year.
Sixth would go to Calum King who withstood intense pressure throughout the twenty-minute event. It had been the on-form Lewis Brown who corralled #45 car in the final five minutes, but ultimately settled for seventh ahead of Dan Zelos who debuts this weekend.
*Edit: Jordan Collard was later given a 10 second penalty for being out of position at the start, dropping him to fifth and handing Ant Whorton-Eales the win.*