Unstoppable Smith storms to victory at Snetterton

Close racing in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup - Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Team Pyro’s Aron Smith took his third win of the season at the Snetterton 300 in round 12 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup today after a race-long battle with team-mate Jack Goff; taking an impressive one-two for Team Pyro in the process.

A sun-drenched Snetterton played host to a very mature race by the Clio Cup drivers and Smith, who was unlucky in race one yesterday, was understandably thrilled with the win.

“The race was about a million times better than yesterday’s,” said Smith. “I off the line brilliantly at the start – it was like I had traction control! After that it was happy days really. The team did a brilliant job of getting the car back together, staying at the track until 2am, so the win is all theirs.

“I got out of the car yesterday and didn’t think that I would be racing here today so this win makes it all worth it.”

Smith made a strong start from pole position and led the pack into the first corner, with Goff tucked up behind him. Fellow title challenger Total Control Racing’s James Dixon made a comparatively poor start from the third row and going into the first corner, Riches, and got squeezed onto the grass and span.

Alongside Dixon on the grid was Lumison BlueSquare Data/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Paul Rivett who benefited from Dixon’s misfortune, as did the the pacey Jake Packun (Get On Track Developments). However, after circling off the pace for a couple of laps, Dixon soon retired with a broken steering arm, throwing the championship wide open once more.

“I didn’t make the best of starts,” explained Dixon. “Initially I beat Rivett off the line but he got a little bump off Luke Wright which put him back into contention going into the first corner. I didn’t really have anywhere to go exiting Riches and was trying to keep out of trouble, so moved over to the left and unfortunately I got clipped by Packun. I would have liked to have continued but couldn’t risk the car.”

Smith, closely followed by an impressive Goff, benefitted from the first lap antics and was able to pull out a respectable gap over the remainder of the top six drivers during the early stages of the race.

Goff was equally happy in second place. “It was quite close out there but I didn’t want to make any silly moves so waited for an opportunity but unfortunately that never came,” he said. “Myself and Aron both had disappointing races yesterday, so I am happy to take P2 today.”

Consistent frontrunner Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn also felt the pressure from the chasing back as he dropped from fourth to fifth in the opening lap action, only to regain the position and another when he overtook Matt Allison (Scuderia Vittoria) on the second lap.

Allison started well, but was soon caught by Rivett, who lost the championship lead in round 11 to Dixon yesterday. Rivett steadily picked off his opposition and began to catch the flying Colburn, but soon his attention switched attention to fending off Allison and Team Pyro’s Josh Files, coming home in fourth position. A result which now sees the double Clio Cup champion back in the lead of the championship again with eleven points heading to Rockingham in four weeks time.

“I had a great race today,” said Rivett. “I made a bad start but a bump from behind somebody behind helped me recover going into the first corner at Riches. By the time I had finished battling with Allison, the first three were too far ahead that I wasn’t going to be able to catch them so I just ensured that I got the care home safe to take the points.”

This weekend’s races, with today’s broadcast on ITV4, saw James Coulburn run with an AirAsia destination on his windscreen strip. Budding travellers wanting the chance to win two flights to Kuala Lumpur thanks to AirAsia should email this destination to airasiaclio@sro.co.uk. The competition competition closes at 11:59pm on August 8th.

AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK championship action resumes in six weeks time at Corby’s Rockingham race track for rounds thirteen and fourteen on September 17-18. Competitors from the championship can be seen in action at Silverstone in the ‘Renault Clio Cup Channel Challenge’ at the World Series by Renault event on August 20-21.

Round twelve top ten results
1.  Aron Smith Team Pyro 10 laps G
2.  Jack Goff Team Pyro +0.268s G
3.  James Colburn Westbourne Racing +0.847s G
4.  Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering +2.284s
5.  Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria +2.958s
6.  Josh Files Team Pyro +3.502s G
7.  Adam Bonham Team Pyro +6.599s G
8.  Neb Bursac Team Pyro +8.143s
9.  Jake Packun Get On Track Developments +8.333s G
10. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoira +9.760s G

Championship top ten after round twelve
1.   Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 264 pts
2.   Aron Smith Team Pyro 253 pts G
3. James Dixon Total Control Racing 249 pts G
4.   James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 247 pts G
5.   Jack Goff Team Pyro 208 pts G
6.   Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 183 pts G
7.  Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 168 pts
8.   Adam Bonham Team Pyro 160 pts G
9.  Tom Grice Total Control Racing 150 pts G
10. Josh Files Team Pyro 141 pts G

About AirAsia Clio Cup

Each season drivers come from around the United Kingdom and internationally to compete in the thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing that the Renault Clio Cup demands. The Championship continues to be the UK’s premier one-make saloon-car championship. Using race cars based on the road-going Clio Renault Sport 200, the Championship continues to be a breeding ground for future Touring Car drivers. As a prominent support race on the British Touring Car Championship platform and benefiting from live, comprehensive and new for 2011, HD TV coverage on the ITV sport network, it remains the most direct link to the BTCC. Almost one third of the current BTCC grid graduated from the ranks of Renault Clio Cup UK http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx
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