LEWIS Saunders has had an eventful start to his 2021 Quaife MINI Challenge Trophy campaign.

The teenager from Bampton, near Witney, has claimed 144 points to put him 11th in the standings after three weekends.

Having claimed a podium in the first of two races at Snetterton, the 298 Motorsport driver was in confident mood as the championship moved to Thruxton.

Saunders was fourth-fastest in qualifying for round one, but an eight-place grid penalty meant he started 12th.

The youngster pulled off several excellent moves to fight his way through the field and by the sixth lap he was leading the race.

He could not hang on, but came home third to claim his second podium of the season before finishing 14th and 11th in the following two races.

It was another roller coaster event at Brands Hatch last weekend, as a stone found its way through the radiator to allow water to leak out on to the front tyre in qualifying.

Saunders had no front grip and the engine damage meant he lined up in his worst-ever position of 21st on the grid, although he was just seven-tenths of a second slower than the car on pole.

An excellent manoeuvre at Paddock Hill Bend saw him climb five positions, but on lap two he was unable to catch anyone ahead.

A four-lap safety car allowed the car to cool, but Saunders was caught in an accident at the restart and he crossed the line 17th.

The youngster climbed from 17th to tenth in race two, until another collision caused a red flag.

Starting from his original grid position, Saunders fought his way up to seventh but was unable to stay ahead of the faster cars and came home 11th.