Whorton-Eales prevails to win drama-filled Renault UK Clio Cup race one at Donington Park

JamSport’s Ant Whorton-Eales has taken victory in the first of today’s two Renault UK Clio Cup races at Leicestershire’s Donington Park. The race had to be stopped early due an accident but nevertheless the action up front was befitting of the championship’s 25th anniversary event…
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Whorton-Eales had initially found himself shuffled down to third position as he, Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison and WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett dramatically ran three abreast for the lead exiting Coppice Corner.

Rivett came out on top as they approached the chicane but then Whorton-Eales executed a perfectly judged move through the corner to move past Pattison and into second. Several laps of pressure on leader Rivett finally paid off as he bullied his way into first through Coppice Corner.

Pattison followed him past Rivett into second but was immediately then put on the defensive by the retaliating WDE driver. This allowed Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates and Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell to close right in and make it five for the lead to set up a potentially pulsating final few laps. Indeed Coates was on a mission – setting the race’s fastest lap as he fought back from a slow getaway from pole position…

However the anticipated fight between this quintet was not to be as the race was stopped after Senna Proctor’s Team BMR with Pyro car rolled in an off entering the Old Hairpin. Proctor was seen walking away from his car unaided, seemingly OK.

It meant the top five read: Whorton-Eales, Pattison, Rivett, Coates and Bushell. Third place marked Rivett’s 99th podium result in the UK Clio Cup…

Whorton-Eales commented: “That was extremely hard work. It’s always easier around here when you have a car in front of you because of the slipstream they give you. When you are in front it’s a lot harder and if the race had gone into its final laps I think Pattison and Rivett would have been all over me.”

Pattison said: “What a fantastic race. We all wanted the win of course but the most important thing was there was no silliness. Paul and Ant both drove very well and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. The main thing is championship points – consistency is everything.”

And added Rivett, who has moved to second in the standings: “I led it for quite some way and really wanted that one but Ant did pull a good move on me to his credit. Then I had Coates right up alongside me through the Craner Curves – no way was he having that. I want to end today with 100 podiums.”

Notably the race had had to be stopped earlier on when four cars from the 24-strong grid got involved in scrapes on the opening lap. Pyro’s David Dickenson spun into a gravel trap and was joined by Dan Zelos’s Ciceley car which ended up on its roof in a gentle roll. Like Proctor he was quickly out of his car… Further round the lap WDE Motorsport team-mates Rory Green and Charles Ladell agonisingly collided at the McLeans corner and both their cars were out on the spot.

Dickenson was able to retake the restart but then retired for good with a second off. Vanquish Motorsport with WDE’s Paul Plant and Pyro’s Josh Price were also non-finishers after spins off the track.

Meanwhile behind the top five George Jackson finished in a lonely sixth – this helping to move his Cooksport team past WDE at the head of the Entrants' championship. Jackson had been in the thick of the battle for the lead briefly before losing touch...

Finesse Motorsport’s Paul Streather survived a grassy moment shortly after the restart to fend off Team Ecomotive-backed team-mate Daniel Rowbottom and PP Motorsport’s Anton Spires for seventh. Ciceley’s Ollie Pidgley completed the top ten while Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne came through strongly from 19th on the grid to finish in 11th out of 17 finishers.