WILL ORTON FIGHTS THROUGH FOR DOMINANT RACE THREE WIN
Will Orton overcame the hurdle of making the worst possible draw for the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE reverse grid race with a fine drive through the field in the Brands Hatch finale.
Orton had taken a second win of the campaign in race two but then pulled number six for the reverse grid, promoting NAPA Racing UK driver Lewis Selby onto pole.
Selby held the initial lead off the line before slipping behind team-mate Jamie Osborne, who had taken full advantage of Marlo Cordell not getting away off the line to immediately make up places.
Bradley Gravett snatched third but not for long as a fast-starting Orton – having already cleared Cordell and Dominic Wheatley – saw his chance to grab third on the run to Surtees and then almost took second from Selby going the final corner.
Selby held the place until the start of lap four, when Orton seized his chance at Paddock Hill – slipping up the inside to take the place and being followed by Gravett and Thomas Jack Lee.
The safety car was then briefly deployed after Jordan Kerridge went off, backing up the field and eradicating the lead Osborne had built at the front although it counted for little after the restart when he was hit with a ten-second penalty for being out of position at the start.
That meant Orton assumed the lead, but he stamped his authority on proceedings by passing Osborne on the road anyway and then raced away from the pack behind to take a second comfortable win of the weekend – taking the flag more than seven seconds clear of anyone else.
Osborne would continue to run second on the road for much of the race with Gravett and Lee running behind him in the two podium positions until Gravett was forced to drop out of the race with a brake issue.
That left Lee under pressure from Oliver Meadows but he managed to put Osborne’s car between then in the latter stages and secured his maiden podium ahead of Meadows as three rookies locked out the top three places.
Behind, Dan Zelos produced a storming drive through the pack after his race two puncture to take fourth place ahead of Nelson King and Joe Tanner – the latter recovering from contact early on with Dominic Wheatley to take sixth and the Directors Cup win.
Lewis Selby, Steven Lake, James Griffith and Wheatley rounded out the top ten.