On his AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup return, Stefan Hodgetts took pole position for both of this weekend’s races at Cheshire’s damp Oulton Park.
Hodgetts (Redditch) who we last saw racing in the Ginetta GT Supercup last year, replaces Scuderia Vittoria’s James Dixon (Maidstone) who himself moves over to Total Control Racing, partnering Nic Hamilton (Tewin) and Rob Smith (Telford). Hodgetts, who has not raced in Clio’s since 2008, produced a dream comeback to what looks to be a promising rest of the season for the 29-year old.
‘It’s fantastic for the team,’ said the West Midlander. ‘I couldn’t have done it without the fantastic car Scuderia Vittoria has supplied me with. We went out there and pushed hard, the track was a bit slippy, and at some points it was like driving a rally car. With a fantastic package we were able to stick it on pole for both races. When you start on pole you want to win, you definitely don’t want to be going backwards. Hopefully we get a good start and hold it from there.’
As a dry line began to form and drivers opted for slick tyres, pole position was constantly changing hands between returnee Hodgetts and title contenders Jack Goff (High Wycombe) and Paul Rivett (Banstead). Three-time champion, Rivett, sits third on the grid for both of the weekend’s races.
‘It was tough session out there be honest,’ said Rivett. ‘The PER HIRE car has been absolutely great as usual but I wanted to take it easy at the start of the session knowing that the times were getting faster later on, which ended up to be a two-lap dash at the end.’
‘If you had a clear lap it was great, if you didn’t it wasn’t so good. Lucky enough we had clear laps and managed to get a third out of it. Obviously I didn’t want to push too hard and throw it off into the barriers. We have two races now so anywhere up front having started third will be great. It’s good to see Stefan [Hodgetts] on pole and to see Jack [Goff] up there to keep the title battle alive.’
Elsewhere, it was 20Ten Racing’s Josh Cook (Bath) who took the Rookie Cup honours to line up for this afternoon’s race in sixth position.
‘The session was a bit of a guess, nobody knew anyone else’s pace, it was whoever had the most space on their fastest lap that would do well. Sixth position is still great, just a bit of a shame that we didn’t get a clear run on the last lap,’ said Cook.
It was Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher (Swindon) who heads the ELF Masters Trophy having put his car on 12th and 11th positions for the weekend’s two races.
The first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race at Oulton Park starts today at 16.05, with the second race at 15.14, tomorrow 10th June.
Clio Cup action will feature in the live ITV broadcast, which will air on ITV4 and ITV4 HD from Sunday morning throughout the day and will also be available on http://www.itv.com.
Qualifying – Round 7 – Classification
1. Stefan Hodgetts Scuderia Vittoria 1:36.934
2. Jack GOFF Team Pyro 1:37.343
3. Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE 1:37.376
4. Josh FILES Team Pyro 1:37.810
5. James DIXON Total Control Racing 1:37.084
6. Josh COOK 20Ten Racing 1:38.414
7. Adam BONHAM Team Pyro 1:38.436
8. Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing 1:38.994
9. Mike BUSHELL MBR 1:39.021
10. Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport 1:39.091
11. Aaron WILLIAMSON Finesse Motorsport Ltd 1:39.172
12. Simon BELCHER Handy Motorsport with Pyro 1:39.313
13. Rob SMITH Total Control Racing 1:39.463
14. Kim ANDERSSON Team Pyro 1:39.566
15. William DAVISON Westbourne Motorsport 1:39.666
16. Vic COVEY Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.037
17. Finlay CROCKER Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.054
18. Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd 1:40.092
19. Ronnie KLOS Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.949
20. Nic HAMILTON Total Control Racing 1:41.081
21. Tautvydas BARSTYS Juta Racing 1:42.332
22. Darren WILSON 20Ten Racing 1:42.315
23. James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport 1:46.653
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
Press images of the Renault Clio Cup UK can be downloaded from: www.jakobebrey.com/renault