Team Pyro’s Jack Goff kept his title aspirations alive by taking a hard fought victory in round 13 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup at Rockingham today, extending his tally of wins to two for the season as he led home a Team Pyro 1-2-3.
The 18 year-old from High Wycombe got a brilliant start off the line to lead the field of budding British Touring Car racers in to the hairpin for the first time and continued to show his impressive race pace throughout the duration of the race.
“I got a good start off the line,” said Goff. “My plan was to push quite hard over the first three laps which enabled me to pull out a bit of a lead over the rest of the pack, unfortunately the safety car came out and I was left with it all to do again.
“At the restart the main problem that I had was the fact that I had taken a lot out of my tyres in trying to pull out a gap, so I had to slow the pace down a bit for the next four laps and let the tyres come back to me. Luckily I just had enough to maintain the pace to bring the car home for the win.”
The AirAsia Renault Clio Cup certainly wasn’t short of action behind however; Team Pyro’s Josh Files, who started the race in second position, made an overly cautious start off the line and soon came under pressure from title protagonists Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn and Total Control Racing’s James Dixon as they both looked to take the upper hand in the championship battle.
For a short amount of time Files dropped back to fourth but as he came out of Deane for the first time the 20 year-old was able to take back both positions as he went round the outside and into Yentwood.
For the remainder of the race Files was able to carry over his impressive qualifying pace to the race and push his teammate all the way to the line as he tried tirelessly to gain his first victory of the season.
“The start that I made off the line was quite good but Colburn made a better one,” said Files. “I was fourth going into the hairpin but managed to pull back the positions as I went round the hairpin for the first time, I tucked in behind Goff and then we started to pull away.
“When the safety car came out I was slightly disappointed because we lost our advantage over the others, but after making a good restart it was all about managing the tyres for the rest of the race. To get a Team Pyro 1-2-3 is absolutely brilliant.”
With nothing to separate the remainder of the top six in the opening stages of the race there were multiple exchanges of positions. Scuderia Vittoria’s ‘Cross Channel Challenge’ victor Luke Wright was the man to lose out in the close bumper-to-bumper racing that the series provides, after making contact with Get On Track Development’s Jake Packun, causing an issue with his link arm as the pair went through Brook.
Team Pyro’s title contender Aron Smith, fresh off the back of his debut in the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill, rounded out the top three. The young Irishman showed good pace as he fought his way from fifth on the grid to overcome rival title challengers Colburn and Dixon.
“Well, the start wasn’t the best for me,” said Smith. “I lost a couple of places on the run down to the first corner so I quickly had to use my head because on cold tyres, that is when you are able to make the most gains and I had to make them count due to the quality of my rivals in the championship. Due to the tyres going off at the end I didn’t have enough in them to be able to catch Files in second but I’m ready again for tomorrow’s race.”
Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s double Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett, who started the race 16th on the grid after an issue in qualifying, was in the process of driving his race of the season to date as he ended the second lap in ninth position. The man from Pembury showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the championship battle as he worked his way through the pack to finish an impressive seventh.
“I have never been so happy to finish seventh in my life,” said Rivett, who came to into the Rockingham race weekend as championship leader. “That has got to be my best race of the season so far, to fight through the field like that and nearly be the fastest car on the grid is just great.
“It was just brilliant, clean racing in the Clio Cup today and that’s what we like to see, my jaw is starting to ache from smiling so much I’m that happy. I would like to thank Lumison BlueSquare Data Stancombe Vehicle Engineering for their efforts.”
A notable performance came from Scuderia Vittoria’s young charger Ant Whorton-Eales. After setting the second fastest time in Friday’s second practice session until the opposition went on to new tyres to set faster times, Whorton-Eales finished a solid eighth in today’s race.
Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Mark Gibbons, who joins the series for the weekend after emerging as victor in the Rockingham ‘Dream Drive’ Competition, finished in 16th. He may have been last of the classified runners, but it was an impressive performance from someone who was intending to come to Rockingham to spectate, not participate.
The championship battle is well and truly alive heading to Sunday’s round 14, with Rivett a mere two points ahead of Smith, and Dixon and Colburn 13 points away.
Fans watching Sunday’s race can win flights to Kuala Lumpur thanks to series title sponsor AirAsia, as one competing Clio will be carrying the name of an AirAsia destination on its win’screen. Email this destination to email@example.com to be entered into the draw to win two return flights from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK action concludes with race 2 on Sunday at 14:40.
Round 13 results
1. Jack Goff Team Pyro 23m 27.898s G
2. Josh Files Team Pyro +0.892s G
3. Aron Smith Team Pyro +2.795 G
4. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments +4.344s G
5. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport +5.171s G
6. James Dixon Total Control Racing +5.615s G
7. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering +6.137s
8. Ant Whorton-Eales Scuderia Vittoria +11.041 G
9. Rob Boston JHR Developments +11.464s
10. Craig Currie Team Pyro +13.731s
Round 14 top ten qualifiers
1. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:30.383 G
2. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:30.616 G
3. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1:30.755 G
4. Josh Files Team Pyro 1:30.834 G
5. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:30.860 G
6. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1:30.879 G
7. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:30.953 G
8. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:30.959 G
9. Ant Whorton-Eales Scuderia Vittoria 1:30.990 G
10. Rob Boston JHR Developments 1:31.006
Round 13 top ten qualifiers
1. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:30.271 G
2. Josh Files Team Pyro 1:30.458 G
3. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:30.597
4. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1:30.652 G
5. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1:30.653 G
6. Ant Whorton-Eales Scuderia Vittoria 1:30.715 G
7. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:30.734 G
8. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:30.810 G
9. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:30.875 G
10. Rob Boston JHR Developments 1:30.972