Sutton’s win in the opening race at Croft was his second of the season and actually put him in front of everyone else in the laps and miles led charts.
Within 24 hours it was all change, though, as his Team Pyro team-mate Hand motored to his fifth win to date in race two to move to the top of both those tables. Hand could yet go on to beat Dave Newsham’s ‘most wins in a season’ record, but only if he takes victory in every remaining round…
For Whorton-Eales, Croft’s two races were all about damage limitation after a crash in qualifying put him to the back of the grid (17th) for both encounters. In race one the SV Racing ace got as high as seventh and in race two incredibly made it onto the podium in third. That’s an astonishing 24 places made across the two races and, as a result, he now tops the ‘most positions gained’ chart for the season (41 in total compared to the next best of Team Cooksport driver Charles Ladell’s 28).
Whorton-Eales continues to lead the standings outright with 270 points but anyone could yet become the 2015 Champion. That is because there remains a possible maximum score of 272 to be had across the eight races still to come at Knockhill, Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP (32 per win plus two more for the fastest lap)…
On the ‘two dropped scores’ rules, which will start to weigh on drivers’ minds if not already then certainly after Knockhill, it is Hand who is ahead on 243 points (his current 265 minus 22/fourth place and also a zero/non finish at Donington) from Whorton-Eales on 232 (his current 270 minus 16/seventh at Croft and 22/fourth at Thruxton). Sutton is third on 228 (244 minus zero/non-finish at Oulton Park and also 16/seventh at Donington Park). Paul Rivett, fourth, is on 196 (220 minus 18/sixth at Brands Hatch and six/15th at Donington).
For JamSport Racing’s Grundy, Croft marked a real upturn in form. For the first time in 2015 he out-qualified highly rated team-mate Dan Holland (with a personal best of eighth) and then raced to his first-ever top ten finishes with eighth and ninth place results. Holland, too, achieved his best result so far in 2015 with a seventh in race two.
Ladell also enjoyed by some margin his most competitive form in qualifying so far in 2015 with sixth on the grid for both races to improve his previous best of eighth and ninth at Oulton.
Current Clio Cup stats after rounds 9 & 10, Croft Circuit:
4 Ash Hand
2 Ashley Sutton & Ant Whorton-Eales
5 Ash Hand
2 Ant Whorton-Eales & Ashley Sutton
1 Paul Rivett
5 Ashley Sutton
4 Ant Whorton-Eales
1 Paul Rivett
3 Ash Hand
2 Paul Rivett, Jordan Stilp & Ant Whorton-Eales
1 Jack Mitchell
4 Ash Hand & Ant Whorton-Eales
2 Ashley Sutton
Laps Led (out of 136)
46 Ash Hand
43 Ashley Sutton
35 Ant Whorton-Eales
12 Paul Rivett
Miles Led (out of 273.8731)
102.981 Ash Hand
73.7403 Ashley Sutton
70.4398 Ant Whorton-Eales
26.712 Paul Rivett