Paul Rivett (Epsom) took victory in another pulsating Renault UK Clio Cup race today at Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit to become the fourth different winner of the season so far while second place for Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) enabled him to increase his championship lead slightly ahead of tomorrow’s second race.
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WDE Motorsport’s Rivett led all 12 laps after getting the measure of SV Racing’s Whorton-Eales, who had started from pole position, as the pack headed into the first corner. But the triple Champion was under intense pressure with Whorton-Eales and Pyro team-mates Ash Hand (Nuneaton) and Ashley Sutton (Bishops Stortford) bunched up close behind him throughout.

Hand it was who finished third after passing Sutton at mid-distance. Sutton then lost fourth place on the final lap to 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Towcester). Stilp had made up almost three seconds to join the lead battle in the closing stages after losing ground early on in a scrape with Sutton who took the two bonus points for setting the race’s fastest lap time.

Rivett’s win is the 44th of his long Clio Cup career. He commented: “That was intense but I always felt I had it under control and I know Ant isn’t the sort of driver to try something rash – particularly given his championship lead. I made sure I drove every line inch perfect so that I always had everything covered. It feels great to open our victory account for 2015.”

Whorton-Eales, whose championship lead is back out to 19 points over nearest rival Sutton, said: “Those races are always tough, trying to attack but having to keep an eye on your mirrors at the same time. I got too much wheelspin off the line which is why Paul got past me at the start but it’s still good for the championship. I’m happy.”

Hand added: “I felt we had the pace to win that one but Rivett and Whorton-Eales didn’t really leave an opening. Third is still good, though – I’ve closed up that bit more to Ashley for second in the standings (down from 11 to eight points now) and I’m on pole for tomorrow’s race. Hopefully I can lead that one all the way.”

Behind there was an equally intense battle for sixth position between Team Cooksport trio Charles Ladell (Ipswich), Jon Maybin (Chinnor) and Rory Collingbourne (Newport, South Wales) who finished in this order.

Up from a lowly grid position, JamSport’s Dan Holland (Dagenham) was almost with these three at the end in ninth as SVR’s Jack Mitchell (West Kingsdown) fought off Pyro’s Brett Smith (Wellingborough) to complete the top ten – both having found themselves shuffled down the order after starting higher up the grid.

Elsewhere 20Ten’s Graham Field (Nottingham) added to the celebrations of having just become a grandfather with victory in the Masters Cup class for older drivers.

Click here for the full race results.