THRUXTON DOUBLE FOR RHYS HURD WITH RACE THREE SUCCESS

Rhys Hurd made it two wins from three at Thruxton with victory in the final Vertu MINI CHALLENGE Trophy race of the weekend.

The Chandler Motorsport driver started the race from second on the grid behind Alex Solley, who had scored victory in the reverse grid second race having started from pole.

Solley was able to once again hold onto the lead when the lights went out at the start ahead of Hurd, with Sam Gornall slotting in behind in third as the leading drivers all held station – with Luca Marinoni Osborne the highest-placed driver to make up spots having climbed into sixth.

His four place rise was mirrored by a four place loss for team-mate Harry Hickton, with the championship leader slipped down to tenth on the opening tour.

Gornall was knocked off the podium spots on the second lap as both James Black and Alex Keens nipped ahead, with Hurd seeing that as his cue to go on the attack for the lead, drawing alongside going up Woodham Hill on lap three to lead into the chicane.

That would prove to be perfect timing for the reigning rookie champion when the safety car was called out seconds later after Mick Fitzgerald went off into the barriers on the exit of Church.

The race would remain under caution as the PerformanceTek Racing driver was helped from the car and taken to the medical centre for checks, with the action eventually resuming on lap nine.

Hurd nailed the restart to build a slender lead and had enough in hand to keep Solley at bay to pick up a win that moves him into the top ten in the championship standings.

“Three out of three would have been nice but that’s a bit greedy!” he said. “Me and Alex pushed in the first few laps and got a gap a little gap, but I could see those behind closing in so went for the lead and got ahead just before the safety car.

“That helped because it meant I could relax a little, and on the restart, we got away well and I was able to get enough of a gap to avoid them getting the tow.”

Second for Solley allowed him to close in on the two drivers ahead in the championship to end the weekend just 21 points off spot off the lead once dropped scores are taken into account.

“It was a shame about the safety car as I couldn’t attack Rhys again,” he said. “We had good pace and with a few more laps could have gone for it. However, we banked good points for the championship which is the most important thing.”

Black chased him home in third spot to maintain his own solid start to the season with another podium finish, with Alex Keens and Nathan Edwards behind.

The JCW regular was competing as a guest entrant and overhauled Gornall on the final lap, with Gabe Fairbrother and Marinoni Osborne also getting ahead on the final lap to lead the man second in the championship back in eighth place.

That was one spot ahead of points leader Harry Hickton who again found himself in the middle of the pack; being lucky to escape mid-race contact with Harvey Riby that resulted in his car briefly being launched into the air at the chicane.

Jamie Keates then rounded out the top ten, having survived a late clash with Reece Lycett that remove his front bumper and led to Lycett coming in to retire.

Ronnie Smith took top rookie honours for the first time this weekend in twelfth place to maintain his lead in the standings, with leading director going to Matt Hammond – who was one spot further back in the overall results.