Ant Whorton-Eales ended his own victory drought and gave his new Maximum Motorsport team its maiden win in Sunday’s Renault UK Clio Cup round at Rockingham as Paul Rivett, Ash Hand and George Jackson, in a best ever fourth, followed after a dramatic battle for second position.
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Team Pyro’s Ashley Sutton started from pole position only to be passed into the banked Turn 1 by Whorton-Eales at the start and then suffer a high-speed spin at the next corner after his BMR Restart car and that of WDE Motorsport’s Rivett made contact under braking.

Rivett was also lucky to survive the incident but resumed in third before sneaking past Pyro’s Hand for second soon after. At one stage this pair ran side-by-side for three corners with Rivett just able to keep ahead. Their squabble gradually allowed Team Cooksport’s George Jackson to close in and on the penultimate lap he pulled a sensational move under braking to dive past Hand for third.

Hand was not to be denied, however, and was quickly back ahead to take third ahead of Jackson in a career-best fourth (improving on the sixth he achieved in Saturday’s race). Jackson also for the first time won the Graduates Cup class for younger drivers.

Whorton-Eales, now 17 points behind championship leader Hand with four races to go, commented: “The plan worked perfectly. Get the best start for the lead, then stack whoever was behind back into the pack a bit so they got involved in a scrap and then get my head down and draw away.

“To win by eight seconds shows just how much we’ve developed the car over the weekend. It’s also my first win since Donington Park in April so that is a bit of a weight off my shoulders too. I’m feeling very confident going to Silverstone.”

Rivett said: “That was a big scare with Sutton on the first lap but I just kept the car from spinning. Luckily the car was still in good shape so I went for it with Hand – I’ve nothing to lose in the title race. It was battle rejoined a bit between us from Croft in June when I held him off there as well. Fair play to him, a great race – really hard but really fair.”

Hand said: “That was another great scrap with Paul and he’s the ultimate master at defending a place. I thought I’d got him but he somehow found a way back and then Jackson arrived on the scene. By the time I’d dealt with him it was too late – Paul had got away. But more good points for my championship. It’s still looking good.”

Behind it was Pyro versus Cooksport again for fifth as Sutton just held off Rory Collingbourne for the position – their cars brushing panels on several occasions in a tough contest. After retiring on his debut on Saturday, Luke Kidsley took seventh for JamSport Racing ahead of WDE’s Charlie Ladell – eighth after surviving a wild two-wheeled moment earlier when his car struck a kerb.

Ninth and tenth were 20Ten Racing’s Peter Felix and Pyro’s Mark Howard, the highest-placed drivers in the Masters Cup class for older drivers. Pyro’s Josh Price and JamSport’s Tom Grundy were next up. Completing the runners were WDE’s Rory Green and 20Ten’s Graham Field although both were a lap down after making pit stops for minor repairs to their cars.