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Streather, Whorton-Eales clear in Renault UK Clio Cup FP1 at Donington Park as less than a second covers top 17

Finesse Motorsport’s Paul Streather headed this morning’s Renault UK Clio Cup free practice session at Donington Park with a late lap that pipped long-time pace-setter, JamSport’s Ant Whorton-Eales.
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Less than a second covered the top 17 drivers out of the 24 on track with Streather’s best of one minute, 17.706s just enough to knock Whorton-Eales off the top spot by 0.087s.

Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison, who heads Streather at the top of the championship arriving at Donington, was third fastest – the only other driver able to break into the 1m17s bracket.

Streather said: “We had a small niggle with the car which meant we lost the first 20 minutes but it felt great straight out of the box and the times just came to us. It’s a good start but may get quicker in this afternoon’s second session.”

Whorton-Eales added: “It’s not a bad start considering I’m not particularly happy with the set-up of the car – we seem to have a lack of front-left grip. I was a second faster here last year so it could be there’s a bit of a headwind keeping us back today as well.”

Behind the top three came Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell, JamSport’s Luke Kidsley and WDE Motorsport pair Charles Ladell and Paul Rivett followed by Ciceley Motorsport’s Graduates Cup points leader Max Coates in eighth. Pyro duo David Dickenson and Josh price completed the top ten.

Of the other squads PP Motorsport was 13th with Anton Spires, local team 20Ten Racing 15th with Sam Watkins, Team Ecomotive with Finesse’s Daniel Rowbottom 19th and Vanquish Motorsport with WDE 20th with Paul Plant. Rowbottom, the star of qualifying at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago, was at a loss to explain his relative lack of speed…

Meanwhile Plant and Pyro’s Darren Johnson, making his debut this weekend, both caused brief red flag stoppages with minor offs through Donington’s daunting Craner Curves.

Johnson was 22nd overall ahead of fellow Masters Cup racers, JamSport’s Graham Field and the returning Craig Milner (20Ten), who completed the order with their own entertaining three-way battle for supremacy.

CLICK HERE for full times and sector and speed trap analysis.