Tuesday 25 September 2012

Clio Cup Battle Rocks Rockingham!

The Clio Drivers brave the weather to collect their prizes

 Paul Rivett completed a winning weekend claiming victory in Sunday’s wet Round 12 of the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup, shortening Jack Goff’s championship lead to just 15 points.

The race was started behind the safety car due to the wet conditions, which favoured three-time champion Rivett who proved he has what it takes to race on a wet track as well as sea after securing the P1 Aqua X Sea-Doo Challenge title last weekend.

With the lights of the safety car out, the race was go with championship leader Jack Goff bolting into the first corner. Rivett meanwhile was not going to make it easy for him, and similar to today’s previous race, Rivett pulled the exact same move on Goff for the lead into Deene hairpin. Once ahead, the Banstead driver began to pull out a sizeable lead and was the first driver to be greeted by the chequered flag to make it four consecutive wins and fastest lap.

‘I had a great race’, expressed Rivett. ‘To start under the safety car was the right decision as those conditions were quite bad and I imagine they must have been quite hairy for the guys at the back through the first turn. I was pleased with the whole race in general. I knew I was quicker than Jack and once I got passed him I just disappeared into the distance. The Stancombe boys have done a fantastic job on the car this weekend, to make it go that quick in the wet and pull away from the others like that is just superb. I would also like to thank PER HIRE for getting me here in the first place.’

Four on the bounce now and we’ve got to keep that going, which will be eight on the bounce by the end of the season. We’re on a roll and we’re going to keep that going’, said a delighted Rivett.

Having lead the championship from the very first weekend at Brands Hatch in April, Goff was looking to go one better than in today’s previous round, but it wasn’t to be. The High Wycombe driver produced a stunning drive, but due to poor visibility from a steamed up windscreen, he eventually had to surrender the lead and settle for the second step on the podium for the second time this weekend.

‘It was very eventful’, said Goff. ‘We got a great start and I was able to get the break on the rest of the field before the second safety car came out. It was all going quite well, the carfelt good, but once the safety car pulled into the pits we began to struggle with all-round grip, oversteer on the entrance and understeer in the middle of the corners, which I was trying to deal with in tough conditions but my windscreen steamed up so badly that I couldn’t see out of it at all. I began guessing where I was meant to turn in, it got to the point where it was just hope knowing where I had to turn in. That race was really a matter of just hanging on. We’ve led the championship from the very first race and we have to make sure we’re leading it after the last race.’

Rounding off the podium in third once again was James Dixon, who, similar to all the drivers, found the conditions difficult and spent the majority of the race on his own despite setting consistent fast lap times. The 22-year old will now be looking to hold on to his third position in the driver’s table heading into the final two weekends of the season.
Renault Clio Motorboats battling around Rockingham

‘It was good fun’, expressed Dixon. ‘It was a bit of a boring race on my own, we seemed strong at the start but Paul began to pull away at midpoint as he seemed to have a bit more cornering grip than me, which is unfortunate, but to finished third is another great handful of points. With Paul and Jack ahead of me in the championship, I haven’t been able to catch them at all, but I’m happy with today. It was two podiums that we didn’t have at the start of the season.’

Also replicating his finishing position from today’s earlier race was Rookie winner Josh Cook. The 20Ten Racing driver, who prefers the wet conditions, was able to hold off a rampaging Josh Files, who was also experiencing tough visibility conditions due to a steamed windscreen, to bring the car home in a strong fourth place and extend his lead by 31 points over rival Ant Whorton-Eales in the Rookie Trophy championship.

Even in the tricky wet conditions, the drivers were able to keep all four wheels on the track and bring the cars home in one piece, except from Scuderia Vittoria’s Ronnie Klos and MBR’s Mike Bushell, who ran wide at Gracelands beaching himself in the gravel pit.

As for the ELF Masters Trophy, it was once again Simon Belcher who brought his black and yellow KÄRCHER Clio home in twelfth place and collect his bottle of champagne, Masters hat and trophy.

‘Survival would probably be the best description of today’, said a relived Belcher. ‘Conditions were really tough we didn’t really have the balance in the car to start with. I had a feeling the car was going to be a bit like that as the car had a lot of oversteer to start with, so that wore the front tires down a bit and then the balance of the car came back to me, which towards the end we got quicker and quicker.’

After four years of racing in the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Championship, it was time for veteran Darren Wilson to hang up his Clio gloves to focus more on the management of 20Ten Racing Ltd. The 46-year old will not be absent from the Clio paddock as he intends on attending every race to support the team and drivers for the rest of this season and next.

‘My final race wasn’t great at all’, commented Wilson. ‘I had no grip, and I don’t know if everyone was the same, but I was struggling to keep the car on the track, which is not a great way to finish your Clio Cup career. It was very slippery out there. Klos went off in front of me on the green flag lap, twice, so that showed just how slippery it was out there. As soon as we tried to get up to racing speed I couldn’t stay with anybody as I had no grip, so it was a matter of trying to survive and bring the car home in one piece.’

‘Hopefully I am going to be doing some classic car racing next year and also maybe do some other championships, but I will mainly be focusing on running the team and hopefully getting three strong drivers in the team for next year. Roll on Clio in 2013!’

The championship has a one-week break before action resumes at the Britain’s legendary Silverstone circuit on the 6/7 October. All attention will be on title rivals Rivett and Goff as the championship enters its last two race weekends.

Round 12 Classification

  1. Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE Laps 13 25:14.158
  2. Jack GOFF Team Pyro +5.856
  3. James DIXON Total Control Racing +7.128
  4. Josh COOK 20Ten Racing +8.587
  5. Josh FILES Team Pyro +8.944
  6. James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport +11.412
  7. Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +12.743
  8. Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria +13.472
  9. Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd +16.330
  10. Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +17.455

Drivers’ Championship after Round 12:

Jack Goff
Paul Rivett
James Dixon
Adam Bonham
Josh Files
Josh Cook
Ant Whorton-Eales
James Colburn
Stefan Hodgetts
Vic Covey
Ignas Gelzinis
Aaron Williamson
Simon Belcher
Mike Bushell
Kim Anderson
Jake Giddings
William Davison
Rob Smith
Luke Wright
Finlay Crocker
Darren Wilson
Tautvydas Barstys
Nic Hamilton
Adam Gould
Ronnie Klos
Mark Tilbury
David Grady

Entrants’ Trophy after Round 12:

Team Pyro
Scuderia Vittoria
Westbourne Motorsport
Stancombe Vehicle Engineering
Total Control Racing
20Ten Racing
Finesse Motorsport Ltd
Juta Racing
Silver Fox Racing

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