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It was a weekend of narrow margins and tough fights to the chequered flag as the MINI Challenge headed towards the home stretch with its fifth outing at Oulton Park’s MINI Festival. Local hero Rob Smith delighted the home crowd with a late dash for pole position in qualifying, followed by a fierce battle for top spot in the first race. And in the second race, championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales got back into his stride with a hard-earned win that boosted his place at the top of the table. With three races left, there’s still time for a dramatic late challenge for the throne…
It was a thrilling start as Rob Smith took the top spot in qualifying with just 10 seconds left on the clock. David Robinson was demoted to second after being pipped at the post, and Rory Cuff took third with a career-best qualifying time.
It was a great day for Oulton Park regulars as Rob Smith continued his winning streak in the first race. Smith showed character to lead the race from early on, narrowly holding off David Robinson and Ant Whorton-Eales, with less than half a second between the top three.
The second race began with a close call after leader Lewis Brown slid out of control, knocking into second-placed Paul O’Neill and just missing the rest of the pack. With Whorton-Eales emerging in front after the reshuffle, an epic battle started to play out.
The race became a tussle between Whorton-Eales, Robinson and Nathan Harrison, with Whorton-Eales holding out for his first victory since his sensational run at the start of the season. Robinson snuck into second on the final lap, edging past Harrison by just 0.057 seconds!
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