The SV Racing driver (pictured) and team-mate Jack Mitchell had held first and second places earlier in the session.
But with six minutes to go both had slick tyres fitted to their cars in the hope there would be enough time to build up heat in them and ‘jump’ rival Pyro pair Ashley Sutton and Ash Hand who, persisting with treaded wet weather tyres, took over the top two spots.
With his slicks starting to heat up Whorton-Eales eventually set the fastest second sector of anyone only to immediately be confronted by the chequered flag. He still wound up third overall but Mitchell slumped to ninth.
“I still say it was a call worth making,” reflected Whorton-Eales. “Jack and I clearly had good pace on the wets so why not go for it? If it stays damp for the race later we know we’ve got good pace; if it dries out I am still sure we can take the fight to them. But I’ve no regrets over trying slicks - it was hariy getting heat into them at first but one more lap and it would have paid off.”
Local ace Mitchell said he was “disappointed” to drop to ninth but elated was fellow SVR driver Ben Seyfried who stuck with wet weather tyres and ended up fourth for his first Clio Cup race.
Meanwhile three-time Champion Paul Rivett believes he is in a strong position having qualified fifth fastest for this afternoon's grid` and then third for race two on Sunday.
“I’m very happy with our pace whatever the conditions,” said the WDE Motorsport driver. “Brands Indy is tricky to pass on but it’s a long season and while wins are always nice I’d rather come out of the weekend with good points in the bag instead of a non-finish. But we can definitely fight from where we are…”