Ben Mitchell won a frantic opening Carless Racing Fuels Formula Ford 1600 race at Thruxton.
The Merlyn Mk20 driver spent the race embroiled in a multi-car battle for the lead, running alongside Maxim Bartell on the final lap to take his second win of the season.
Mitchell, who started second, passed pole-sitter Richard Tarling to take the lead off the line, but was shuffled down to second as Bartell took the top spot.
In the closing stages of the race, Mitchell and Bartell began to pull away from the rest of the leading back. Mitchell retook the race lead but Bartell kept the Donington Park race winner under pressure. The pair crossed the line almost in unison, with Bartell’s Merlyn Mk20A just 0.177s behind Mitchell’s.
With his second win of the season, Mitchell moves to the top of the championship standings, nine points ahead of Cameron Jackson, who crossed the line sixth.
Pole-sitter Tarling dropped back to seventh on the opening lap but used the slipstream around Thruxton to his advantage. He quickly joined the lead back and was running fourth after a handful of laps. He finished third, ahead of Callum Grant and Tiff Needell.
Ed Thurston climbed up to seventh from the back of the grid. The Elden Mk8 driver had only completed a handful of laps of the Hampshire circuit before the start of the race, but managed to lead the chasing pack, holding onto seventh ahead of Ben Tusting, Rob Smith, and Chris Stuart.
Race 1 result
|1||Ben Mitchell||Merlyn Mk20||20:20.748|
|2||Maxim Bartell||Merlyn Mk20A||+0.177|
|3||Richard Tarling||Jamun T2||+0.969|
|4||Callum Grant||Merlyn Mk20A||+1.053|
|5||OF||Tiff Needell||Lotus 69F||+7.696|
|6||Cameron Jackson||Lola T200||+8.632|
|7||Ed Thurston||Elden Mk8||+19.608|
|8||Ben Tusting||Merlyn Mk20A||+19.637|
|9||OF||Rob Smith||Merlyn Mk20||+21.042|
|10||OF||Chris Stuart||Crossle 16F||+21.770|