28/06/2015

HAND WINS CLIO CUP RACE TWO AT CROFT TO CLOSE GAP TO PENALISED WHORTON-EALES

Ash Hand held Team Pyro team-mate Ashley Sutton at bay to win today’s second Renault UK Clio Cup round at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit as championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales completed the podium in third after starting a lowly 17th.
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In front of a bumper trackside crowd and live ITV4 cameras, Hand took full advantage of his pole position to lead immediately while Saturday’s race winner Sutton initially lost second place to WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett. By the time he had regained the place Hand was too far ahead to catch and the pair eventually crossed the finish line separated by just over a half a second. It was Hand’s fifth victory from the ten races held so far in 2015.

SV Racing’s Whorton-Eales followed in third but only after some committed overtaking moves during the race as he carved his way through the order from the back of the grid – a legacy of having crashed during Saturday’s qualifying session. He would also pass Rivett in the closing stages and, while it was too late to catch Hand and Sutton, he still scored two bonus points for setting the race’s fastest lap.

The result means Whorton-Eales continues to lead the standings but by a reduced margin of just five points from Hand with Sutton 26 adrift in third and with a maximum of 272 available from the remaining eight races on the calendar.

Hand commented: “It was the perfect race as far as I’m concerned, although the extra points for fastest lap would have been nice. The main thing is I’ve taken more points out of Ant and, on the two ‘dropped scores’ rule, I’m now ahead which is what will matter at the end of the season.”

Sutton said: “Rivett getting past me on the first lap definitely cost me a shot at the win – without it then I think it would have been game on between Ash and I. But at least I’ve finished ahead of Ant and, with my win yesterday, I feel I’ve regained my form just when it matters most as we go into the mid-season break.”

Whorton-Eales added: “The crash in qualifying and having to start both races this weekend from last on the grid meant it was always going to be a case of damage limitation. But I can’t argue with third from where I started – it shows just how strong our set-up is.”

Behind the top three Rivett finished fourth and, in a frantic sprint to the line, SVR’s Jack Mitchell grabbed fifth from Team Cooksport’s Charles Ladell by a mere 34 thousandths of a second. Mitchell has now moved up to fifth in the standings ahead of 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp who retired from the race. Ladell, seventh in the table, has also moved to within two points of Stilp.

Seventh position for JamSport Racing’s Dan Holland marked his best result of the season so far, while eighth and making it two wins in the Masters Cup class for older drivers this weekend was 20Ten’s Peter Felix. JamSport’s Thomas Grundy and Cooksport’s George Jackson completed the top ten.

Later Whorton-Eales was deducted two championship points and relegated two places on the next starting grid for his part in an incident which resulted in retirement for Pyro’s Brett Smith and a spin for Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne. WDE’s Rory Green also retired from today’s race – the unfortunate victim of a first corner melee.

Click here for the race result.

Click here for the latest points tables.