It's Bushell vs Whorton-Eales – Brands Hatch finale to decide 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup title
Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) has taken victory in both Renault UK Clio Cup rounds at Silverstone to set up a title showdown with arch rival Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) in the final two races of the season at Kent’s legendary Brands Hatch circuit in two weeks’ time (Sat 1/Sun 2 October).
JamSport team driver Whorton-Eales went from fourth on the grid to quickly lead Silverstone’s first race. He stayed in front until the penultimate lap when Team Pyro’s Bushell muscled his way past and went on to cross the line in first place.
Officials, though, later handed Whorton-Eales the win and relegated Bushell back to second having deemed his move for the lead had been too robust. Right behind, Pyro’s Josh Price (Redbourn) took a fine third place having shadowed Whorton-Eales and Bushell all the way…
Bushell started race two from pole position but Whorton-Eales again quickly moved into first position and this time he proved impossible to overtake. Bushell applied the pressure throughout but had to settle for second position while Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates (Scorton) this time took third.
Heading to the final two races of the season, to be held on Brands Hatch’s daunting full-length Grand Prix circuit, Bushell leads the standings outright by 14 points from Whorton-Eales and only these two can now be crowned Champion. Significantly, however, when the all-important two-dropped-scores rule is applied, Whorton-Eales moves eight points clear at the top.
Whorton-Eales, who has now won nine out of the 16 races held so far this season, commented: “Two wins at Silverstone – JamSport’s home circuit – are the perfect results for us at such an important stage of the season. I was on pole position for both races at Brands last year but saw the title get away from me – I’m determined not to let that happen this time.”
Bushell, the 2014 Champion, said: “I felt my move on Ant yesterday was legitimate but the officials ruled otherwise so I was a bit out of options in the second race today – even though I always felt I had overall greater pace than Ant. So on to Brands, my home circuit, where I won the title two years ago. If people think it’s been exciting between us at Silverstone they ain’t seen nothing yet….”
Silverstone’s two races saw a number of stellar performances elsewhere throughout the field. In addition to his third place in race two (and pole position for race one) Coates comes away from Northamptonshire circuit assured of the Graduates Cup title for young, first-year drivers – adding his name to the trophy alongside that of 2015 winner and outright Champion Ashley Sutton, now a star in the British Touring Car Championship.
Price also showed great speed throughout at Silverstone as did James Colburn (Worthing), returning to the grid for the first time in 18 months with the PP Motorsport team – sixth and eighth place results were his reward. Having suffered a nasty crash in Friday testing, Paul Streather (Hinckley) bounced back in a car loaned to his Finesse Motorsport team with two fine drives through the pack for a pair of ninths.