Hodgetts Double as Goff Takes the Title

Stefan Hodgetts claimed a double race victory this weekend, his second of the season, but it was Jack Goff who stole the headlines after winning the 2012 AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Driver’s Championship. 

Rewind six months ago when the season got underway here at Brands Hatch, Goff (High Wycombe) went onto win the opening race and claim runner up in race two. Since then the Team Pyro driver has had a faultless season, scoring consistently throughout and finishing every race, a feat only achieved by three other drivers. The ex-MG Trophy Cup driver has two race wins this season under his belt and has finished in the top ten at every race minus one.

The Team Pyro driver has had the full support of his family with him at every race who have given him that much needed boost to secure his first Clio Cup title.

The young driver certainly has the skills to compete in the big leagues and has his fingers tightly crossed that next season we will see him competing with the likes of Matt Neal and Jason Plato in the BTCC.

‘I’M CHAMPION!’ exclaimed the delighted Team Pyro driver. ‘It’s been up and down all year to be honest. We’ve led the championship from the start which is absolutely fantastic.’

‘As for the race it was absolutely treacherous out there and I always kept one eye on my mirrors to make sure where Paul (Rivett) was and the other eye on the track ahead of me. I counted down the laps and with every noise I could hear I was like ‘what’s that? I hope that’s not a car going passed me. The team did a fantastic job as usual so a huge thanks to Team Pyro.’

‘As for next year, I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will be on the Touring Car grid competing with the big boys, but you never know so wait and see.’

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Goff; the championship went down to the wire at the final race of the season here at Brands Hatch. Throughout the 16 rounds of the championship he has had to battle with some of the toughest drivers the series has ever produced, none more so than three-time champion Paul Rivett.

The two have both produced some stunning drives making an exciting season but it was Goff who pipped Rivett (Banstead) by just 19 points to take his maiden title. Rivett was unable to collect his fourth Clio Cup drivers’ title but the PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver has driven superbly throughout, securing six race wins, more than any other driver.

‘It’s been one of those seasons,’ said Rivett. ‘You take away one of our DNFs and we would have won the championship. If the throttle cable hadn’t of snapped yesterday we would have done it. If the track rod hadn’t have gone here at the start of the year we would have done it. If I hadn’t have clipped the tyre barrier at Oulton Park we would have done it. But Jack has done really, really well as he’s finished every race. He’s a worthy champion and well done to him.’

‘We just didn’t have the luck with us this year and that is something you need in racing. We still won more races than anyone else this year and I still feel that I’m the man to beat in Clio’s. I don’t know if I’ll be back next year, I’d like to be back racing in the Clio’s next year but at the moment I don’t know whether I’ll be here or racing at all. We will have to wait and see on that one.’

‘Also I’d just like to thank PER HIRE for making this season possible and a big thanks to Stancombe Vehicle Engineering for producing a superb car all season long.’

As for the race winner Hodgetts, it was his fourth win of the season and finishes the season seventh in the standings having only joined at Oulton Park. The KX Akademy sponsored driver wrestled with his car in the wet conditions to bring the car home first, but it wasn’t without ease as he had Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) constantly snapping at his heels.

At various points throughout the 14-lap race Bushell briefly took the lead from Hodgetts, only for Hodgetts to then snatch it back. The two traded paint on several occasions, much to the delight of the sold out Brands Hatch crowd but it was Hodgetts who held his nerve to claim his winner’s trophy and bottle of champagne.

‘A double win, one in the day, one in the night,’ said Hodgetts. ‘Since Oulton we’ve had four wins which I think is more than the champions had, it’s only Rivett that has had more than me. Since joining in June it has been a lot of fun, brilliant to be part of the Scuderia Vittoria team who have shown that they can make a Clio go very fast.’

‘Watch this space regarding next year,’ continued Hodgetts. ‘We will certainly have a go. We will try and raise some money for it and if we did a full year we will make a few heads roll that’s for sure.’

Second placed and Rookie Trophy winner Bushell was delighted with his second visit to the podium this season. Having recently joined forces with Westbourne Motorsport, the partnership seems to have done wonders for the ex-Ford Fiesta ST Championship driver after lining up sixth for today’s race. Bushell’s second place finish moved him into fourth in the overall Rookie Cup standings.

‘It’s been a fantastic weekend,’ said a speechless Bushell. ‘I’ve finally been able to show what I’ve been meaning to do all year and that’s winning podiums. Hopefully off the back of this I can go into next year and be right up there in the championship hunt. This second place has rounded off a great weekend after a bad first half of the season.’

As for the Rookie Cup, the top honours went to 20Ten Racing’s Josh Cook. The 21-year old has stood on the podium eight times to collect the Rookie trophy this season, two podiums of which were for race victories achieved a fortnight ago at Silverstone. Cook (Bath) finished third in yesterday’s penultimate race and fourth today after being unable to pass third place Dixon.

‘I managed to secure the title yesterday, which is really, really good,’ said Cook. ‘For today’s race I lined up 12th, which wasn’t ideal, but luckily the conditions were pointing in our favour. The car was fantastic and I managed to get up to fourth but Dixon drove a fantastic race, he didn’t put a foot wrong as I pressured him at nearly every corner. I tried to pass him at every gap and opportunity I saw but I wasn’t able to do it. Overall I’m very happy with a third and fourth this weekend.’

‘My season has been up and down,’ continued Cook. ‘It’s a shame we had a couple of DNFs otherwise we would have been higher up. We’ve finished fifth in the championship, which isn’t bad for our first season, especially with the amount of DNFs we’ve had but I’m really happy winning the Rookie title. I’m looking forward to a break now so I can take a step back, do a bit of testing and hopefully come back next season.’

Rounding out the top three was Total Control Racing’s James Dixon (Maidstone). The 22-year old came into this weekend still within arm’s reach of snatching the driver’s title but conceded that it was between rivals Goff and Rivett. Dixon finishes the season third in the driver’s table in only his third season in the Clio Cup.

‘It was alright,’ said Dixon. ‘Another podium and a handful of points to finish third in the championship is something I’m really pleased about. During the race I had bent steering throughout and knew I was never going to win it, I was lucky I managed to keep hold of third. It’s a good end to the season really.’

‘I’ve finished every race, which is really good,’ continued Dixon. ‘Overall I’m very happy with this season, it would have been nice if we had a better start to the year but Jack’s done a good job so a huge well done to him, and to Paul for finishing runner up. We will have to see where we go from here.’

Completing the podium was ELF Masters Trophy Championship winner Simon Belcher (Swindon). The Handy Motorsport with Pyro driver secured his tenth Masters Trophy race win of the season finishing 46 points ahead of nearest rival Finlay Crocker (West Lothian) in his debut season with Clio’s, Belcher has only one DNF to his name and has aimed to break into the top ten all season long, on which he achieved on three occasions. His dominant form in the Masters Trophy has moved him up to 12th in the overall driver’s standings.

‘We tied up the championship yesterday, which was really nice,’ said the KÄRCHER sponsored driver. ‘Yesterday I drove a conservative race because I wanted to wrap up the championship and then go into today’s final race and just enjoy myself.’

‘It was a bit of mayhem out there today. On the first lap I fell back a bit and then I thought to myself I’m third in the Masters; I can’t end the season having won the championship and finish the race in third. So I got my head down, Finlay went off and I managed to pip Ronnie Klos (Market Harborough) during the race to take the Masters win. To end the season on the podium ten out of sixteen rounds is something I’ve got to be happy about.’

‘We now need to focus over the winter on building our pace up so we can not only pick up Masters podiums but overall podiums as that is our aim for next year.’

The final race of the season saw three retirements, but it was pole sitter Josh Files (Norwich) who grabbed the attention of many. The Team Pryo driver locked up at Clearways sending him into the tyre barrier and his Marie Curie sponsored Clio over onto its side. Thankfully Josh was able to escape from the stricken vehicle unharmed.

Another driver to catch the soaking wet crowd’s attention was Finesse Motorsport’s Jake Giddings. Having encountered a problem at the start, the ex-Ginetta Junior Championship driver approached this final race with a do-or-die attitude and stormed his way through the field. He ducked and dived in his black and yellow Clio to cross the line tenth collecting a handful of points.

As for the Entrant’s title, that went to Team Pyro. The team fielded four drivers this season, Adam Bonham (Kibworth), Josh Files, Kim Andersson (Sweden), replaced by David Dickenson, and championship winner Jack Goff. The team, lead by Mark Hunt, have scored consistently throughout the season having fended off the Scuderia Vittoria team to claim the top position.

The curtains have now come to a close on the 2012 AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup. The season has yet again delivered exciting bumper-to-bumper racing that draws huge crowds. This spectacular season may be at end but the Clio Cup returns to Brands Hatch on 30/31st March 2013.

 

Round 16 Classification

1.     Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria Laps 14 28:04.361

2.     Mike BUSHELL MBR/Westbourne Motorsport +0.357

3.     James DIXON Total Control Racing +5.589

4.     Josh COOK 20Ten Racing +6.065

5.     Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport +11.185

6.     Jack GOFF Team Pyro +13.963

7.     Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +14.433

8.     Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE +16.614

9.     James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport +17.238

10.  Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd +17.717

11.  Vic COVEY Scuderia Vittoria +19.707

12.  Simon BELCHER Handy Motorsport with Pyro +20.590

13.  Ronnie KLOS Scuderia Vittoria +24.057

14.  David DICKENSON Team Pyro +24.199

15.  Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +38.760

16.  Nic HAMILTON Total Control Racing +38.994

17.  Rob SMITH Total Control Racing +39.142

18.  Finlay CROCKER Scuderia Vittoria +40.093

19.  Tautvydas BARSTYS Juta Racing +40.646

20.  Mark TILBURY Silver Fox Racing +1:14.737

21.  Graham FIELD 20Ten Racing +1:16.183 

 

Drivers’ Championship after Round 16:        

Driver Points
Jack Goff 373
Paul Rivett 354
James Dixon 330
Adam Bonham 297
Josh Cook 287
Josh Files 268
Stefan Hodgetts 239
Ant Whorton-Eales 208
James Colburn 182
Ignas Gelzinis 152
Mike Bushell 146
Vic Covey 140
Simon Belcher 121
Jake Giddings 118
Aaron Williamson 99
William Davison 98
Rob Smith 98
Kim Anderson 82
Finlay Crocker 75
Luke Wright 60
Nic Hamilton 51
Tautvydas Barstys 47
Darren Wilson 46
David Dickenson 43
Ronnie Klos 40
Adam Gould 39
Mark Tilbury 21
David Grady 12
Andy Wilmot 4
Graham Fields 1

 

Entrants’ Trophy after Round 16:

Team Pyro 768
Scuderia Vittoria 544
Westbourne Motorsport 459
Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 387
Total Control Racing 351
20Ten Racing 338
Finesse Motorsport Ltd 217
Juta Racing 202
MBR 146
Silver Fox Racing 21

-ends-

A full set of timing results and championship standings can be found here: www.tsl-timing.com

For further information please visit: http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx

twitter.com/AirAsiaClioCup | facebook.com/AirAsiaClioCup | airasiacliocup.wordpress.com

Press images of the Renault Clio Cup UK can be downloaded from: www.jakobebrey.com/renault

Audio interviews: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/airasia-renault-clio-cup-uk/id426386266

 

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Hodgetts Takes Victory as Championship Thriller Continues

As darkness descended on Brands Hatch, it was Stefan Hodgetts’ headlights that emerged first to take the chequered flag ahead of pole sitter Josh Files. As for the championship battle, Jack Goff was able to extend his lead at the top as rival Paul Rivett failed to finish.

Having started the race in fading light, Team Pyro’s Files (Norwich) lined up in pole looking for his first race win this season, but was unable to get the start he wanted which allowed second placed Hodgetts (Redditch) to lead the field into turn one. The KX Academy driver was not able to pull away from the field as much as he wanted as Files was constantly snapping at his heels throughout putting him under immense pressure.

In the dying laps of the race, Hodgetts out braked himself at Druids to open the door for Files to slip through, only for Files to do the same thing a few laps later at Paddock Hill Bend and surrendering the lead. Files tried to take back his lead was too far back as they crossed the chequered flag.

The victory for Hodgetts is his third this season after taking a spectacular double victory at his mid season return to the series at Oulton Park. He also claimed the fastest lap for two extra points and he now lies seventh in the championship table.

‘It was really good,’ said a delighted Hodgetts. ‘I got a great start and from there we managed to crack on and get the job done. Holding off Josh was difficult as he was contently filling my rear view mirror. He put his lights on to let me know he was there as it was dark but in the end I was able to pip him to the chequered flag.’

Having looked strong throughout practice and qualifying, Files had set his sights on securing a race victory double at his favourite circuit on the calendar, but it wasn’t to be as the experienced Hodgetts pipped him to it. The Norwich driver lines up pole position for tomorrow’s season finale and will be hoping to do one better and take home that elusive number one trophy.

‘I’m happy but I could have been happier if I won to be honest,’ said Files. ‘It was a good battle with Stefan for the lead but it wasn’t to be, but there is always tomorrow so fingers crossed I can go one better.’

Rounding off the top three was Josh Cook (Bath) who in recent meetings has been in fine form having taken two races victories at Silverstone a fortnight ago. The 20Ten Racing driver lined up sixth and battled hard with the midfield before breaking free and storming to the third position on the podium and claiming his eighth Rookie Cup category race win this season.

‘It has become very familiar wearing this Rookie winners shirt,’ said Cook. ‘I think it has even become my favourite piece of clothing and I’m hoping to secure the final one tomorrow and take the championship. I’ve pretty much wrapped up the Rookie Championship now and for tomorrow I’ve got to focus on winning more points in the main driver’s championship table as that is also really important to us. I don’t know where I am in the table but I’m going to go out there and try and bag as many points as I can.’

As for the driver’s championship battle, it did not get off to the best of starts for second placed Rivett (Banstead) as eighth placed Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) had a driveshaft problem on the grid blocking Rivett from reaching his starting position. Despite Whorton-Eales and Rivett out of position, the lights still went out and the 23-car field sprinted down to turn one as Whorton-Eales pulled off to the side ending his race hopes.

The gird incident was not going to deter Rivett from snatching the championship lead from Goff (High Wycombe) and the PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver ducked and dived through the field before the inevitable happened when he found himself on the tail of Goff. The two battled hard with Goff holding off the defending champion for several laps before Dixon (Maidstone) and Colburn (Worthing) both ran wide causing midfield confusion which Rivett embraced slipping by Goff into fifth.

Rivett continued to pull away from the mid pack and was soon battling with newcomer David Dickenson (Keatingstown). The Irishman was able to hold off the experienced driver for several laps after increasing pressure but on lap four, Rivett slowed to a crawl at Sheene Curve before eventually pulling off and into retirement due to a snapped throttle cable.

As the cars passed the stricken PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering car, it was clear for Goff that all he had to do was bring the car home in one piece to extend his championship lead with only one race remaining.

With Goff finishing in ninth, he has now extended his lead to fifteen points. Paul Rivett is still within reach of securing his fourth title, but he has a lot to do as he starts down in eleventh for tomorrow’s race, whilst Goff starts in forth.

With recent ELF Masters podiums being dominated by Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher (Swindon) as of late, it was Finlay Crocker (West Lothian) who took home the honors this time after bringing the car home matching his season best eleventh place. The Scotsman made a fantastic start to the race having passed five cars on the opening lap.

‘It was long, tiring and getting dark at the end,’ said the Scuderia Vittoria driver. ‘It was good though. It was all about the start as a bit of space came along and I just went for it. I was struggling a bit towards the end as I have probably taken a bit out of the tyres earlier on, but overall I’m very pleased.’

Although Goff has extended his lead, the title is yet to be decided and tomorrow’s finale looks set to be an edge of your seat thriller. By 3.15pm tomorrow, the title will have been decided and the 2012 Champion will be crowned, but who will it be. Goff or Rivett?

You can catch all tomorrow’s deadline day action live on ITV4 and ITV4HD as coverage starts at 11am lasting throughout the day. If you are unable to sit on the edge of your seat in front of a television, you can still watch the action online via http://www.itv.com.

Round 15 Classification 

1.     Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria Laps 12 20:20.929

2.     Josh FILES Team Pyro +0.232

3.     Josh COOK 20Ten Racing +10.830

4.     David DICKENSON Team Pyro +11.739

5.     Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +12.162

6.     Mike BUSHELL MBR/Westbourne Motorsport +12.978

7.     James DIXON Total Control Racing +14.892

8.     Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd +15.101

9.     Jack GOFF Team Pyro +16.044

10.  Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +19.602

-ends-

A full set of timing results and championship standings can be found here: www.tsl-timing.com

For further information please visit: http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx

twitter.com/AirAsiaClioCup | facebook.com/AirAsiaClioCup | airasiacliocup.wordpress.com

Press images of the Renault Clio Cup UK can be downloaded from: www.jakobebrey.com/renault

Audio interviews: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/airasia-renault-clio-cup-uk/id426386266

 

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Files Claims Double Pole In Season Finale

Josh Files was the man in form as he claimed double pole for the final weekend of the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup season at a damp Brands Hatch. Championship contenders Jack Goff and Paul Rivett both struggled in the conditions as they line up ninth and twelfth respectively.

Having looked strong throughout Friday’s two practice sessions, both interrupted by red flag incidents, Files (Norwich) claimed pole for both of the weekend’s races, replicating the season opener at the Kent circuit back in April. The Team Pyro driver decided to run on a mixed tyre setup of slicks on the front and wets on the rear, the preferred tyre choice for many of the 24-car field.

Files will lead the pack from Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) in second and new to Westbourne Motorsport, Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) in third.

“Double pole at Brands again,” said the Team Pyro driver. “It’s my track this one, I love it! Conditions were tricky as there were a lot of incidents in such a small session. The car was all over the place as it was loose as it was the only way to get it round on the tyre combination we had, which was wets on the back and slicks on the front. I went out there and grabbed it by the horns and hustled it through the bend and it worked out!”

“I’m hoping to come away with two race wins as that’s what I came into this weekend wanting so hopefully I can take it.”

Lining up behind Files is KX Academy driver Stefan Hodgetts. The Scuderia Vittoria man, who joined the season midway through the season at Oulton Park, moved into second place during the closing minutes of the season’s final qualifying session.

‘It was good!” said the recent Britcar 24hr driver. “We started on slicks all round, which was really quite tricky and a huge risk to be honest. With ten minutes to go we the wets on the back and kept the slicks on the front and managed to do a time that puts us second. We now sit on the front row for both races so it should be good.”

Rounding off the top three was Mike Bushell, who has recently joined forces with Westbourne Motorsport to become MBR with Westbourne Motorsport. Nicknamed ‘Basil’, he currently sits fifth in the Rookie Championship with one-victory and two second places to his name.

‘It was brilliant to be honest,” said a delighted Bushell. “Since switching to these guys (Westbourne Motorsport) the car feels so much better and I’m up the end of the grid where I want to be. Hopefully this form can continue on into the race.”

“Conditions were tricky. We had wets on the back and when the track started to try there was a lot of heat running through them so the back end was always wanting to step out, it was really squirrely stuff.”

As for the two title contenders Goff (High Wycombe) and Rivett (Banstead), who both struggled with the slippery conditions will start within the mid-pack in ninth and twelfth for Race 1. Each will be hoping to pip the other to the chequered flag as they both have one hand firmly on the title. Rewind six months ago when the season opener was held here at Brands Hatch on the Indy circuit, they each took a victory, but it was Team Pyro’s Goff who held the upper hand as Rivett failed to finish in the first race.

Goff will line up in a strong fourth position for the second and final race, whilst Rivett will move up one place to start eleventh.

‘It was very interesting,” said the championship leader. “The conditions out there were tough as we were on half and half tyre set up, which so was everyone as it was the obvious choice. It was lethal, the car was always trying to put you in the wall, but we managed to hang on but it was a case of who wanted to risk it the most. Josh did a good job of hanging onto it round the back section and stuck it on pole.”

“As far as the championship goes, Rivett is in a worse situation than us so it’s looking good for the races!”

“Not the best of qualifying sessions, but it’s not all that bad.” Said the three-time champion. “I’m eleventh and twelfth while Jack is eighth and forth. I love this circuit and enjoy coming here. I made a little mistake as I went into Hawthorns a bit too quick and where we had wets on the back and slicks on the front on a drying track, it gets to the point where the car starts to oversteer and I pushed a little too hard. It was one of those things.”

“It’s going to make for a very interesting race today and I’m really looking forward to getting out there and having some fun!”

Heading the ELF Masters Trophy was yet again Simon Belcher (Swindon), who has a comfortable hold at the top of the table and is looking increasingly likely to take home the title. The Handy Motorsport with Pyro driver will line up seventeenth for today’s first race and then fifteenth for tomorrow’s season finale.

Former Clio Cup competitor David Dickenson (Keatingstown) will line up in fourth and eight respectively, having made an impressive championship return at Silverstone.

“Not too bad, conditions were changeable and very tricky!” said the Irishman. “We sit fourth so I’m very happy about that. I want to try and race here every year as I want to get back into proper track racing. I’m hoping to get on the podium for today’s race, but we will see how it goes.”

Another newcomer this weekend and local man is Andy Wilmot (Dartford) making his debut from the VW Cup starts in twentieth and nineteenth positions at the historic circuit.

In drying conditions expected for this afternoon’s race, there will certainly be some quick drivers hard charging from the midfield. James Colburn (Worthing) starts fourth with double Silverstone winner and Rookie Cup championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) alongside in fifth. Fellow Rookie challengers Jake Giddings (Wisbech) and Ant Whorton-Eales start seventh and eighth and outside championship contender James Dixon (Maidstone) will line-up in tenth.

The first of the two final races of the season gets underway later this afternoon at 5.15pm where it may become clearer as to who is going to take home the 2012 title.

Clio Cup action will feature in the live ITV broadcast, which will air on ITV4 and ITV4HD from Sunday morning throughout the day and will also be available online via www.itv.com

Qualifying – Round 15 – Classification

1.     Josh FILES Team Pyro 1:46.951

2.     Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria 1:46.977

3.     Mike BUSHELL MBR/Westbourne Motorsport 1:47.329

4.     David DICKENSON Team Pyro 1:47.465

5.     James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport 1:47.495

6.     Josh COOK 20Ten Racing 1:47.605

7.     Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd 1:47.609

8.     Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport 1:47.715

9.     Jack GOFF Team Pyro 1:47.853

10.   James DIXON Total Control Racing 1:47.946

11.   Adam BONHAM Team Pyro 1:48.205

12.   Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE 1:48.212

13.   William DAVISON Westbourne Motorsport 1:48.893

14.   Vic COVEY Scuderia Vittoria 1:48.911

15.   Nic HAMILTON Total Control Racing 1:50.496

16.   Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing 1:50.600

17.   Simon BELCHER Handy Motorsport with Pyro 1:50.962

18.   Finlay CROCKER Scuderia Vittoria 1:51.058

19.   Ronnie KLOS Scuderia Vittoria 1:51.344

20.   Andy WILMOT 20Ten Racing/Team Hard 1:53.134

21.   Tautvydas BARSTYS Juta Racing 1:54.002

22.   Mark TILBURY Silver Fox Racing 1:55.715

23.   Graham FIELD 20Ten Racing 1:56.736

24.   Rob SMITH Total Control Racing

-ends-

A full set of timing results and championship standings can be found here: www.tsl-timing.com

For further information please visit: http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx

twitter.com/AirAsiaClioCup | facebook.com/AirAsiaClioCup | airasiacliocup.wordpress.com

Press images of the Renault Clio Cup UK can be downloaded from: www.jakobebrey.com/renault

Audio interviews: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/airasia-renault-clio-cup-uk/id426386266

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Down To The Wire Season Finale

A three-way AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Championship showdown now looms with Jack Goff, Paul Rivett and James Dixon all still able to be crowned Champion on ‘Finals Day’ at Brands Hatch on the historic Grand Prix Circuit.

Buckinghamshire’s Goff clung on to his points lead despite not finishing on the podium at Silverstone while Surrey’s Paul Rivett, the defending Champion, took to the podium steps only once in second place after starting on pole position for both races.

Third placed man, Kent’s James Dixon, had another consistent weekend with his third podium in four races bringing him closer to the title battle.

It all means that Goff will go into the season’s final two races leading by a mere 3 points from Rivett with Dixon, very much the outsider, is 51 points behind with a possible maximum of 68 to be had at the world famous Kent venue.

Having come close in 2011, Goff is yet to lift the Clio Cup crown – the UK’s premier one-make saloon-car championship – while Rivett is looking to add to his previous titles from 2002, 2004 and 2011. Dixon is also waiting for his first Championship title.

Bath youngster Josh Cook goes to Brands Hatch with a healthy lead in the Rookie Cup Championship although Westbourne Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales can still catch him. Josh had a stunning weekend taking two overall victories at Silverstone. Cook withheld huge amounts of pressure to take the double podiums.

In the ELF Masters Trophy Swindon’s Simon Belcher leads the way after a succession of class wins. His nearest rival, Scotsman Finlay Crocker, is 44 points adrift leaving Belcher the red-hot favourite to take home the title.

Elsewhere Team Pyro is all but assured the coveted Entrants Trophy. Scuderia Vittoria look to take the second spot with third place to be decided between Westbourne Motorsport and PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering.

Meanwhile, of the 24-car-grid, a number of drivers have yet to step onto the podium and the hard chargers will be keen to do so at the final two races of the year.

With it all still to play for and in a championship where everything can change over the course of just one race, there’s little doubt Brands Hatch is going to be one of our most exciting weekends yet.

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New Turbo-Powered Clio Cup Set For 2014 UK Race Debut

Hot on the heels of the brand new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo road car unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last month, Renault UK is delighted to confirm its intention for the competition version of the fourth-generation Clio to appear in Britain for the 2014 motor racing season.

As the current domestic championship prepares to reach its conclusion at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit this weekend on 20th/21st October, work is underway behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition to the brand new turbo-powered car which will debut in Europe next year.

During initial testing, which began in early August and has so far covered around 3,500 kilometres at a variety of French circuits, lap times have been roughly one second per lap faster than the existing normally-aspirated 2.0-litre Clio Cup car.

Featuring a 1.6-litre turbo-powered engine tuned by Oreca Magny-Cours and sealed at source, developing 220hp and 270Nm of torque, the new Clio Cup racer has a six-speed sequential gearbox with an AP Racing clutch and limited slip differential. There is also the option for a paddle-shift gear change.

High performance braking is guaranteed with 320mm AP Racing front discs and four-piston callipers, while the suspension features one-way adjustable dampers from ZF-Sachs with specific aluminium wishbones. Electronically, the complete data acquisition system is integrated into the TFT full colour dash display.

Aerodynamically the car boasts a highly efficient rear wing, offering 40kg of downforce at 125mph, with the addition of a roof scoop similar to the one on the current Clio Cup. Enhanced safety features are, of course, a pre-requisite while the car sits on 17-inch Speedline Corse racing alloys.

“We’ve enjoyed 22 fantastic years of Renault UK Clio Cup racing and the brand new Clio Cup race car is an incredibly exciting new chapter in the story for everyone”, said Renault UK Communications Director Jeremy Townsend.

“We will continue to run the existing car in the British championship through 2013, with the intention to then introduce the new turbo-charged Clio Cup car the following season. Getting the timing right is very important, the car will race in the Clio Eurocup next year so our teams in the UK will have ample opportunity to see it in action ahead of its planned 2014 UK debut.”

Since first bursting onto the national motorsport scene in 1991, as a replacement for the Renault 5 series, the Renault UK Clio Cup has been a cornerstone of British circuit racing and has played a key role in the careers of some of the sport’s most successful touring car and sportscar drivers.

The previous generation Clio Cup was introduced in 2006 and has been highly successful with over 700 race cars sold.

Several graduates from Clio Cup currently form part of the current British Touring Car Championship grid, including 2006 champion Tom Onslow-Cole and 2010 title winner Dave Newsham. Jonathan Adam, the 2005 champion, is a race-winning force in the British GT Championship and also competed successfully in the BTCC prior to his switch to sportscars.

The new Clio Cup will be available for delivery in the UK from September 2013.

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Deja Vu for Cook

Having only won his first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race earlier today, it was a case of déjà vu for Josh Cook as he once again held off a pressuring nose-to-tail train to claim a second consecutive win of the weekend and tighten his grip on the Rookie Trophy.

With Paul Rivett (Banstead) getting a poor start off the line, Cook seized the opportunity and moved into second place behind ex-Ginetta Junior driver Adam Bonham (Kibworth). Cook was close on Bonham’s tail before getting the better of him heading down the start/finish line edging it by 0.038secs across the line. Heading into turn one, Cook had the inside line and was able to comfortably hold onto first place.

With Cook heading a five-car queue all battling for the lead, it wasn’t long before his skills would be severely tested as, similar to the previous race, Cook had to fend off yet another experienced one-make driver, this time in the form of a black and orange Clio being driven by Rivett. Rivett was constantly snapping at Cook’s heels biding his time to overtake, but Cook produced a flawless race and took the chequered flag for the second time this weekend.

‘I was not really expecting that to be honest,’ said a delighted Cook. ‘We were a little of the pace in the first race earlier today, but we managed to get back to the front after a good start and then I had to try and maintain a little bit of a gap. Towards the end Paul did get real close and I think he had a good handful of opportunities to lunge for the lead, but obviously he didn’t for the sake of the championship. It would be fantastic to get the Rookie Trophy in my first year. I think we’re sitting fifth in the championship so I want to get as high as I can and then look forward to next year. A big thanks to the team again for building me a fantastic car and I’m looking forward to Brands.’

After a slow start off the line with too much wheel spin, many were expecting Rivett to take the race win after impressive dry pace during qualifying on Saturday, but unfortunately he was forced to settle for second place. The three-time champion still continued to cut championship rival Jack Goff’s lead, bringing the gap down to just three points after the High Wycombe driver brought his car home in fourth place having started down in seventh. Rivett has set his sights on snatching the lead from Goff and winning the title for a fourth time and becoming the first Englishman to win both championships on land and sea.

‘It wasn’t as good as I had hoped for as I got a poor start which was all my fault with too much wheel spin as there was a long line of mud on the circuit, but that’s the way it goes,’ said a disappointed Rivett. ‘After that I dropped back down to third and then up to second, from there I could have pushed Josh a bit harder for the lead but I didn’t want to risk anything so I settled for second. It was not the weekend I was hoping for, but we are now only just three points behind Jack. I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch now, I love racing there and it’s going to be a good fight that’s for sure.’

Rounding off the top three was 22-year old James Dixon (Maidstone). He also produced a flawless race and was constantly threatening Rivett for second position, but had to concede and bring the car home in a well deserved third much to the delight of his adoring fans and the Total Control Racing team. Dixon has been scoring consistently throughout the season, but conceded that his hopes of winning the title are all but over as he sits third in the championship 54 points adrift of Goff.

‘Another podium, that race was a lot of good fun,’ exclaimed a pleased Dixon. ‘There was a little bit on contact between me and Stefan Hodgetts halfway through the race, which wasn’t ideal and that dropped me back a bit. Once Stefan had gone past he then drove off the track so I was then able to maintain my gap again and get myself back up to the front pack. I managed to catch up to the back of Paul and Josh towards the end, but to be honest I don’t think a win was possible as Josh was inch perfect today, so was Paul. It was another podium and a handful of points so I’m happy but to win the championship now I don’t think is going to happen, but we’ve got to go for two wins at Brands Hatch now.’

Completing the podium with another case of déjà vu was Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher (Swindon). The ex-jet ski racer brought the car home in sixteenth place much to the disappointment of himself, but still remained upbeat as he collected his second ELF Masters trophy of the weekend, his fourth on the bounce. With another handful of points in the bag this weekend for Belcher, he now leads the Masters Cup by 44 points from nearest rival Finlay Crocker.

‘We seem to keep collecting these Masters trophies, which is nice, and another trip to the podium,’ said Belcher. ‘It was not such a good race for me, I made a little mistake on the first corner and I was sideways, which was not very comfortable when you’re looking at a whole grid coming at you. I managed to pick it all up and gather the pieces and bring it home in sixteenth. It could have been worse but I’m happy to pick up another Masters win and hopefully we can tie the championship up at the next meeting.’

Elsewhere, it was an impressive debut weekend for Irishman David Dickenson (Keatingstown), who on both occasions this weekend stayed out of the mid-pack trouble and brought the car home in one piece in twelfth and sixteenth respectively.

With no titles yet decided, the championship will go down to the wire at Kent’s Brands Hatch in two weeks time where all attention will be on main title protagonists Jack Goff and Paul Rivett. Who will get the better of the other? No one knows, but it will certainly make for some edge of your seat racing.

Round 12 Classification

1.     Josh COOK 20Ten Racing Laps 18 19:48.266

2.     Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE +0.234

3.     James DIXON Total Control Racing +0.565

4.     Jack GOFF Team Pyro +0.952

5.     Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +1.169

6.     Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport +1.494

7.     Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +3.175

8.     Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria +3.374

9.     James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport +3.874

10.  Josh FILES Team Pyro +4.077

Drivers’ Championship after Round 12:        

Driver Points
Jack Goff 343
Paul Rivett 340
James Dixon 289
Adam Bonham 261
Josh Cook 240
Josh Files 240
Ant Whorton-Eales 188
Stefan Hodgetts 173
James Colburn 165
Ignas Gelzinis 135
Vic Covey 124
Simon Belcher 105
Aaron Williamson 99
Mike Bushell 98
Jake Giddings 93
Rob Smith 90
William Davison 89
Kim Anderson 82
Finlay Crocker 61
Luke Wright 60
Darren Wilson 46
Tautvydas Barstys 44
Nic Hamilton 41
Adam Gould 39
Ronnie Klos 30
Mark Tilbury 19
David Dickenson 14
David Grady 12
Graham Fields 1

Entrants’ Trophy after Round 12:

Team Pyro 666
Scuderia Vittoria 444
Westbourne Motorsport 373
Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 373
Total Control Racing 297
20Ten Racing 287
Finesse Motorsport Ltd 192
Juta Racing 182
MBR 100
Silver Fox Racing 19

 -ends-

A full set of timing results and championship standings can be found here: www.tsl-timing.com

For further information please visit: http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx

twitter.com/AirAsiaClioCup | facebook.com/AirAsiaClioCup | airasiacliocup.wordpress.com

Press images of the Renault Clio Cup UK can be downloaded from: www.jakobebrey.com/renault

Audio interviews: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/airasia-renault-clio-cup-uk/id426386266

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Josh Cooks Up A Storm

The Championship battle is heating up. As the mist cleared on Round 13 for a dramatic action packed race, it was 20Ten Racing’s Josh Cook who grabbed the headlines leading a seven car nose-to-tail train to take the chequered flag and his first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup win of the season.

Having lined up on the grid in fourth for this morning’s race, which was delayed due to heavy fog conditions, Rookie Championship leader Cook avoided the spins and cars running wide ahead to battle his way to the top on the opening lap. The Bath driver was able to pull out a substantial lead between him and second placed man Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch), but the KX Academy driver closed the gap and put Cook under intense pressure for the majority of the race. Cook was able to keep a cool head and keep the experienced Hodgetts behind him to take the chequered flag to the delight of the 20Ten Racing team.

‘It was an interesting race,’ said a delighted Hodgetts. ‘I was able to get a great start up into third, overtook for second into the second corner up the inside of Bonham and then Paul (Rivett) had a moment up ahead on cold tires. That put me into the lead and managed to pull a bit of a gap, but Stef was able to catch back up. He gave me a little tap at one point, but it wasn’t intentional. He drove fantastically well and was fair, hard but fair. 20Ten Racing have done a fantastic job with the car and finger’s crossed we can keep it together for race two.’

Just 0.209secs separated the race winner and Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts, who had a disappointing qualifying yesterday after only putting his car eighth for today’s race. The experienced driver was also able to avoid the drama up front and slip into second place to take his fifth podium of the season.

‘It was good,’ said a thrilled Hodgetts. ‘Having started from eighth and coming up second, which is a good result. The boys did a great job after working hard late last night as we didn’t have a fast car yesterday in qualifying, but they worked hard and we’ve got a good car for today and hopefully we’ll get another podium this afternoon. We’re already looking at that one. I start a bit higher up so I’ve got to go win that one. I found the conditions perfect. There was a bit of fog and it was cold, but we’re in England’

Rounding off the top three was Cook’s Rookie title rival Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield). The Westbourne Motorsport driver lined up seventh and almost secured second after a brief move on Hodgetts but Stefan fought back reclaiming the position. 18-year old Ant didn’t want to give up the place easily and continued to pressure Hodgetts but in the end Whorton-Eales had to settle for third place for his fourth podium of the season.

‘It was interesting,’ said Whorton-Eales. ‘Having started seventh, I battled up to third and then into second at one point and there were cars everywhere up front with some going sideways, it was very slippery out there this morning as it has been so cold. Let’s see what we can do this afternoon.’

Elsewhere, it was a race to forget for title rivals Jack Goff (High Wycombe) and Paul Rivett (Banstead) as both faltered and, after a coming together mid-way through the race, the pair finished in eleventh and seventh respectively. With Goff finishing behind rival Rivett, his championship lead is now cut to just nine points. PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Rivett lines up on pole again for today’s second race, whilst Team Pyro’s Goff lines up three rows back in seventh.

As for the ELF Masters Trophy, it was yet again Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher (Swindon) who took the honours for the eighth time this season.

‘I’m slowly filling up the cabinet at home,’ said an upbeat Belcher. ‘It was a good race. I wasn’t able to get the qualifying that I wanted as I’m still aiming to get in the top ten every time in the session, but it didn’t quite come together yesterday. I knew that for today I had to keep my head down and not make any mistakes and eventually, hopefully, we would move up the grid, which we did. To finish fourteenth is a reasonably good result from starting sixteenth and another Masters win. We are getting very close to that championship win and it will be nice to end my rookie year with a Masters title.’

‘Out on the track it was very, very greasy. I knew it was going to be so we made a couple of changes to the car to try and help me out a little bit, but you just had to use your head for the first couple of laps and try and keep it on the track and be there at the end of the race to take the result.’

With the sun breaking through the fog, today’s second race looks set to be a bright and sunny one. The cars will rev their engines for the second time today at 16.25 for Round 14. Follow all the live action on ITV4 and ITV4HD and also online at www.itv.com

Round 13 Classification

1.    Josh COOK 20Ten Racing Laps 18 19:51.023

2.    Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria +0.209

3.    Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport +0.441

4.    James DIXON Total Control Racing +0.751

5.    Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +0.958

6.    Josh FILES Team Pyro +1.183

7.    Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE +1.461

8.    Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +4.7729.   

9.     Rob SMITH Total Control Racing +5.445

10. James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport +5.784

-ends-

A full set of timing results and championship standings can be found here: www.tsl-timing.com

For further information please visit: http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx

twitter.com/AirAsiaClioCup | facebook.com/AirAsiaClioCup | airasiacliocup.wordpress.com

Press images of the Renault Clio Cup UK can be downloaded from: www.jakobebrey.com/renault

Audio interviews: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/airasia-renault-clio-cup-uk/id426386266

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