Ant Whorton-Eales hits the front with Silverstone success
Lichfield racer Ant Whorton-Eales enjoyed a successful weekend on track at Silverstone as the Quaife MINI Challenge headed for the Home of British Motorsport for the third meeting of the year.
The JamSport Racing driver went into the weekend looking to bounce back from a difficult end to the previous event at Knockhill, where a high-speed incident in the final race had left his car nursing heavy front end damage.
Hard work from the team in the following weeks ensured that Ant’s car was ready for the Silverstone weekend, with the #10 MINI running in a new look livery thanks to additional support from Donkin Group, who stepped up to become primary sponsor for the event.
Qualifying around the short, high-speed circuit saw Ant post the fourth quickest time but he was able to jump up to third at the start of the opening race before an incident that involved points leader Lewis Brown saw the safety car deployed.
When the racing action resumed on lap seven, Ant was able to maintain his spot in the podium positions and although unable to make a move on Dan Zelos ahead for second spot as he struggled with the front left tyre, he gapped the pack behind to ensure that his third place wasn’t under threat.
Starting from third on the grid for race two as a result, Ant made a fine start when the lights went out to jump ahead of Zelos and Nathan Harrison into the lead of the race.
The 20 minute encounter would then see Ant produce a masterclass in how to control proceedings from the front of the field, with the 26-year-old putting his car in the perfect position lap-after-lap to keep Zelos at bay.
Heading into the closing stages, Ant was able to edge away from the squabbling pack behind to take his second victory of the campaign, and move to within two points of the championship lead.
The reverse grid final race saw Ant lining up in eighth place on the grid and although he would make up a place at the start, it proved to be more of a challenge to try and work his way through the field ahead.
Struggling once again with the front left, he would cross the line in seventh spot, although the points earned across the three races mean Ant now leads the standings by a single point ahead of the next round of the season at Snetterton next month.
“It’s been a good weekend for me personally with a win and a podium, but also for the team with two wins from the three races across the weekend,” he said. “Huge credit has to go to them for all the hard work that went into repairing the car after Knockhill, and it’s great that she is a race winner again.
“We struggled a little with the front left in the opening race so to start off with a podium there was a decent result, and race two was actually quite controlled once I was in front. In a race like that, it is tough to break the tow but at the same time, as long as you don’t do anything stupid and position the car right, you can keep the pack behind. That was what I did and it was great to get the win.
“Race three was actually much more tricky because when the cars are so equal is hard to make progress, and we need to have a bit of a look at why we didn’t quite have the performance there that we did in race two.
“Overall it’s great to have taken the points lead, but I’ll continue to just take things one race at a time to make sure we’re in the mix when it matters at the end of the season.”