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Sutton wins Donington slipstream thriller, Whorton-Eales just holds onto points lead

Ashley Sutton (Bishops Stortford) has won today’s rescheduled opening Renault UK Clio Cup round at Donington Park from points leader Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) but only just as the first four cars home flashed across the finish line separated by little more than half a second.
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Team BMR Restart with Pyro’s Sutton led away from pole position but after applying constant pressure SV Racing’s Whorton-Eales passed him for the lead with just three laps to go. On the next lap, however, Sutton regained the lead and this time stayed ahead for his first win of 2015.

20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Towcester), who briefly took second from Sutton when Whorton-Eales hit the front, took third just ahead of Pyro’s Brett Smith who closed in dramatically on the squabbling lead trio around the final lap. At the line the four were covered by just 0.638s.

Click here for the full result.

Whorton-Eales also set a new race lap record for two bonus points which, added to his win at Brands Hatch, just keep him ahead of Sutton in the championship standings going into two more races at Donington tomorrow. The pair will start both those races alongside each other on the front row of the grid.

Sutton commented: “That race was all about the slipstream. When Ant got by he was a good five car lengths ahead but even from that far back I was able to pick up the tow around the lap and be right with him again. After I got him back I had to be very defensive to keep him behind to the end. I hope every race can be as close as this – it’s terrific.”

Whorton-Eales added: “The slipstream was everything. I benefited from it and then so did Ash. When I saw Stilp had got past him as well I thought it was my chance but then Ash was back ahead of him and in my tow. I just locked the right-front tyre at Redgate Corner, was a little slow out and it was enough for him to come past again.”

Stilp said: “We’ve transformed the car from mid-week testing, in qualifying this morning and again into the race. It felt great to be right on their pace and I did briefly fancy my chances of the win but not at the risk of damaging the car going into tomorrow’s races. It’s tomorrow that I will attack more.”

Behind fourth-placed Smith, SVR’s Jack Mitchell (West Kingsdown) and Team Cooksport’s Charles Ladell (Bury St Edmonds) were fifth and sixth. Next up in seventh was SVR’s Ben Seyfried (Yeovil), the highest-placed of the older Masters Cup drivers. With Team Cooksport’s Paul Knapp (Farningham) retiring, Seyfried has taken over the class lead…

Dan Holland (Dagenham) and Rory Green (Hildenborough) were the best finishers for the JamSport Racing and WDE Motorsport teams in eighth and tenth. Freddie Hunt (Goodwood) was 11th for Team BKR after an opening lap spin.

But it was a bad race for two of the fancied title contenders, triple Champion Paul Rivett (Epsom) and Ash Hand (Nuneaton) after they were involved in a kerfuffle that scattered the pack early on. Rivett finished a lowly 14th with damage to his WDE car while Pyro’s Hand retired.