Scuderia Vittoria enjoyed another strong weekend in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Rockingham, with Luke Wright racing to a top-four finish and Clio debutant Ant Whorton-Eales proving to be one of the fastest men on the track.
Midlander Whorton-Eales, who had never before competed on slick tyres, shocked the Clio paddock by qualifying sixth fastest of the 18-car field, with Wright one spot behind him in the order. Wright turned the tables on the grid for the second race, taking fifth spot, with Whorton-Eales ninth.
Wright charged through to fourth in the first race, but was then eliminated with broken steering in a collision.The second race made up for the disappointment, with Dorset racer Wright scything through to third on the opening lap. Although he dropped to fourth, he remained on the back of the fight for second and was just 0.070 seconds away from setting fastest lap, including the fastest time in the circuit’s long first sector.
“We took a little time to get on the pace, and by the time we did I had a little bit of a gap to pull back,” said Clio rookie Wright. “The field at the front was spaced out, but I managed to get some time back – and I’m pleased to be able to gain on such experienced drivers, who are all in their second or third year in the championship.”
Whorton-Eales got a disappointing start in the first race and was down in 13th at the end of lap one, but he battled his way up the order to finish eighth, lapping just 0.009 seconds away from the race’s fastest lap on his Clio debut.
He lost out again on the opening lap in race two, but once again recovered places to finish in seventh position – and this included a successful pass on two-time Clio champion Paul Rivett, the acknowledged man to beat.
Team director Danny Buxton, the former Clio Cup champion who set the team up with fellow racers Tom Ferrier and Piers Masarati, said: “This was a really good weekend for Scuderia Vittoria.
“According to the clerk of the course, Luke’s incident in race one was a racing incident – he went for the move and was unlucky. So with that in mind we just wanted him to bring the car home in race two. He lost touch with the leading three, but then showed good pace and pulled them back in without taking any risks – and they’re all experienced guys.
“Ant was a revelation. He needs to learn to be a bit more positive on the opening lap, but after that he was a joy to watch. I’m very proud of him – especially as he reminded everyone that you can overtake in Clios! He showed respect to the championship contenders, but at the same time did not give an inch.”
As part of the ultra-popular British Touring Car Championship package, the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup enjoyed live coverage of its second race at Rockingham on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, and was streamed live at itv.com/touringcars. The series now moves on to the famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent on October 1st and 2nd for the final round, where Scuderia Vittoria plans to expand to field four cars for the first time.