VICTORY DOUBLE FOR WHORTON-EALES AT THRUXTON AS RENAULT UK CLIO CUP TITLE RACE INTENSIFIES
May 9, 2016 by Renault Sport
JamSport team driver Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) took the wins in Sunday's two Renault UK Clio Cup rounds at Hampshire's high-speed Thruxton circuit as he and Team Pyro's Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) both came firmly into play in the title race. However it is WDE Motorsport's Paul Rivett (Epsom Downs) who continues to lead the championship heading to its next two rounds at Cheshire's daunting Oulton Park circuit in early June.
Whorton-Eales made a sensational start in Sunday's first race to go from fifth on the grid to lead by the end of the first lap. From there he was never headed, although he had to work hard for the win ahead of exciting youngster Josh Price (Redbourn) and Bushell. Second place for Pyro's Price marked his first UK Clio Cup podium result.
Rivett meanwhile finished the race in fourth ahead of fellow title protagonist, Team Cooksport's Lee Pattison (Scholes).
In the second race – broadcast live by ITV4 – it was Bushell who crossed the line in first position but a time penalty for exceeding track limits demoted him behind Whorton-Eales into the runners-up spot. Behind, Price was able to back up his race one form with another strong performance in third. Pattison took fourth but Rivett was only eighth after spinning out of second in the early laps
Rivett still heads the championship but by the much reduced margin of just six points from Bushell. Pattison is third with Whorton-Eales up to fourth and only 18 points – the equivalent of a sixth place finish – adrift of Rivett. Finesse Motorsport's Paul Streather (Hinckley), 15th and then sixth in Thruxton's two races, also remains in contention in fifth overall.
Whorton-Eales commented: 'Thruxton has not been the best circuit for me in the past so today has been very good not only for my championship but also psychologically. Nobody else has got more than one win so far – we've got three out of six now and I'd definitely say the momentum is with us as we head to Oulton, a circuit I love.'
Bushell said: 'Two pole positions, a third and a second… I'm pleased with those results but feel it could have been more, particularly in that second race. To lose it like that is very frustrating but it can happen so I just have to take it on the chin and move on. The main thing is we're right in the hunt.'
And enthused 17-year-old Price: 'It's been a great day for me with two real breakthrough results plus two wins in the Graduates Cup for the younger drivers. They say that once a driver gets their first podium then the floodgates open… I hope they're right!'
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Elsewhere at Thruxton there were a number of other stand-out results. Anton Spires (Buckingham) and the PP Motorsport team achieved a best-ever result of sixth in race one and then bettered it with a fifth in race two. Pyro's David Dickenson (Wicklow) showed strongly in both races as well with a pair of seventh-place results. Bushell's and Price's combined results have also enabled the Pyro squad to turn a 40-point deficit into a 13-point lead at the top of the Entrants Championship.
Points leader Rivett reflected on his day, saying: 'Today has not gone to plan. I'm a bit disappointed not to get a podium in either race but at least I managed to recover the moment in race two and get something out of it. Thruxton has never been my best circuit so to come away still in front and with Oulton – one of my strongest circuits – next up is a big positive.'