Racing in the rain at Oulton Park.
Challenging conditions, costly mistakes and a dramatic late twist – the 2018 MINI Challenge series got off to an exhilarating start at Oulton Park. Newcomer Jordan Collard proved that he’s a real force to be reckoned with impressive qualifying laps, while wet wheels and soggy tarmac saw experienced drivers face a difficult first race of the series. The rain didn’t dampen their spirits though, and the racers pushed each other in a thrilling tussle for the chequered flag. Then, with a sensational final twist, a post-race penalty cost Challenge veteran Nathan Harrison first place on the podium, handing the coveted top spot to Ant Whorton-Eales.
A new contender.
Despite the wealth of experience on the track, it was a newcomer who stole the show at Oulton Park. Debutant Jordan Collard earned pole position with a stunning performance in qualifying – even after being pushed back for straying too wide on his first lap.
Battling the elements.
A morning of rain meant drivers were facing slippery conditions when the first race kicked off. An early mistake on wet wheels saw Collard slipping behind, leaving 2016 championship runner-up Nathan Harrison and former British touring car racer Ant Whorton-Eales to battle it out for first place.
A dramatic late winner.
The scrap for the lead quickly erupted, and after Whorton-Eales locked his wheels at Hislop’s chicane, Harrison grabbed the advantage to take the chequered flag. But the drama didn’t end there – officials handed Harrison a 30-second post-race penalty for a yellow flag infringement, giving the win to Whorton-Eales and promoting Collard to second, with Paul O’Neill on the podium in third.
Built for all conditions.
While the wet tarmac made racing tricky, the drivers were full of praise for their cars. Collard enthused that his MINI was ‘so well put together that it felt great right from the first lap’, while Harrison noted that ‘these cars are so powerful and great brakes that you really can push them’.