Dan Zelos made it two wins from two in the 2023 Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE with victory in a wet second race of the weekend at Donington Park.

Overnight rain provided a fresh challenge for the 23 car field when it hit the track, with Zelos starting from pole as a result of his victory in Saturday’s season opener – with the EXCELR8 driver holding onto the lead when the lights went out.

Alongside on the front row, Sam Smith was slightly slow away which provided Joe Tanner with the chance to jump ahead of his team-mate into second spot, although the Hybrid Tune racer was unable to challenge Zelos for the lead.

The former champion extended his advantage over the pack to more than three seconds before a clash between Jordan Kerridge and Billy Hardy at Coppice saw Hardy’s Autotech Motorsport car stuck in the gravel on the edge of the circuit.

That saw the safety car deployed and eradicated the lead Zelos had built at the front, but he eased away again on the restart to grab win number two of the weekend and extend his early advantage in the points.

“We looked after our tyres at the start and the aim was to look after them as much as I could,” he said. “I like this weather and credit to the team for the car as it was great.

“The track was dry yesterday so we had no idea what it would be like round the back, but we did have wet testing which helped. I felt confident in the set-up, and knew where I could push from the two green flag laps.”

Behind Zelos, Tanner and Smith would follow him home to give Hybrid Tune a double podium finish, with Will Orton following his team-mates home in fourth.

Orton would have a busier race however as he was forced to fight hard to keep Oliver Meadows at bay having recovered from a slow start to get ahead of team-mate Barry Ward into fifth spot.

Ward – who had made arguably the best start when the lights went out – would slip back to sixth spot after Nelson King battled ahead at turn one to take sixth spot, with Ward following him in seventh and Josh Porter taking eighth.

Porter ran in eighth throughout aside from a brief period at the start of the twelfth lap when Dominic Wheatley briefly edged ahead through the Old Hairpin only to then run slightly wide and allow Porter to reclaim the spot on the run to McLeans.

Wheatley would then be demoted back to tenth spot on the following lap by Lydia Walmsley as she emerged at the front of a fight that had run throughout the race.

“The whole weekend has been going so much better than last season, but I love the wet conditions,” she said. “I had a bit of a poor start but pulled it back, and the safety car helped.

“We had such a steep learning curve last year with the car and the new tyres, but I’ve got a lot more confidence as half the battle is in your head – I think that’s been the big turning point.”

Wheatley rounded out the top ten ahead of Marlo Cordell, who jumped ahead of Jamie Osborne on the final lap to secure eleventh.

Osborne had fought his way from the back of the grid after his technical issues on Saturday, grabbing his first finish of the season in the process.

“It was a pleasure to be out there today and we got a really good position at the end,” he said. “We had lot of stress yesterday but it happens, and I’m so pleased to be out and get the job done. I would have liked a top ten, but can’t complain.”

Bradley Gravett took 13th spot having also been forced to come from the back, wiuth the top 15 rounded out by Lewis Selby and Ryan Faulconbridge.