Title ‘Rivs’ Up at Rockingham

Paul Rivett claimed victory ahead of championship rival Jack Goff to stand on the top step of the podium for Round 11 in the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup at Northampton’s Rockingham International Super Sports Car circuit.

Having chased pole sitter Goff for 13 of the 14-lap race, three-time champion, Rivett (Banstead), took the plunge at the tight Deene hairpin on the final lap to take the lead and the win. The two had been battling hard throughout knowing a win over each other was crucial for their title bid and what ensued was certainly entertaining for the spectators high up in the grandstands overlooking the circuit.

‘I had a great race’, exclaimed Rivett. ‘I was battling with Jack the whole way and knew I was quicker than him, I kept looking up the inside but he would push me out wide and then in the end I got him up the inside going down into the hairpin. Overall it was a great race and hopefully there will be more later this afternoon.’

Having taken a double pole in yesterday’s qualifying despite a broken manifold, 21-year old Goff (High Wycombe) had looked set to take home the race victories following a strong start and holding off the charging field round the tight and twisty 1.94mile track.

‘It was a really good race, maybe a bit too close on the final lap’, said Goff. ‘As for the second race, we are starting on pole again and I hope that we can go one step better. I reckon I can hold off Paul [Rivett] as he is definitely beatable so I’ll give it a go.’

If the weather changes, I love the wet’, continued Goff. ‘We weren’t able to show our true potential in the wet during practice on Friday due to all the red flags, but we have the speed so it should be good.’

As the battle between Goff and Rivett caught the attention of the huge crowds, it allowed Total Control Racing’s James Dixon (Maidstone) to close the gap. Having started in fourth place, he produced a strong getaway from the line and moved into third place, challenging for second place down at turn two. Unfortunately he was not able to make the move and settled for third, where he would stay until the chequered flag. James’ strong third position also strengthens his third place in the title battle.

‘It was really good, a good handful of points’, expressed Dixon. ‘I got a really good start but was pipped by Paul [Rivett] at the turn two hairpin as he put me onto the marbles, which was a fair move, but that then made it difficult as I had the rest of the field all alongside me. I managed to come out of the hairpin in third, but Paul was quicker through sector two, but I was able to reel him back in a bit in sector three.’

‘We were all so close in times that it was making it hard to overtake’, continued Dixon. ‘Paul and Jack did a great job taking first and second, but it doesn’t really help us as they are ahead of us in the points table so I wasn’t able to make up any ground on that front. As long as I’m getting the points I’m happy. If it’s wet for the second race I think I’m in a good position, but I just have to get a good start which it is all about and to keep it clean. I think a few will be going off in the wet.’

In usual Clio Cup fashion, the mid-pack supplied plenty and drama, spins and collisions. The first of those victims was Nic Hamilton (Tewin), sporting a multi-coloured car due to the damage sustained in yesterday’s qualifying, was forced into retirement due to a broken steering arm.

Adam Bonham (Kibworth) and James Colburn (Worthing) came together at the hairpin on the opening lap dropping both drivers down the field. Bonham was later able to recover to a strong fifth place finish also moving him back up to fourth in the championship whilst Colburn was unfortunately not so lucky, only able to finish in thirteenth position.

Yesterday’s highest qualified Rookie trophy driver Josh Cook (Bath) was able to continue this success by finishing just outside the top three in fourth place. The vital 22 points was enough for him to take the Rookie championship lead from Westbourne Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), who retired on the final lap due to an incident involving him and Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch). Cook will line up again in seventh for today’s second race, hoping for wet conditions.

‘It was an interesting race’, said Cook. ‘I got a good start and luckily a few people ahead of me got some bad starts which put me up into fourth, which is really good. Unfortunately I was given a little shunt at the first hairpin, which dropped me back to sixth or seventh. From there I did my best and picked my way through the field. The car was fantastic today, Cook Sport and 20Ten Racing Ltd did a great job on the car, and as usual, the car was really good throughout practice, qualifying and in today’s race.  We will see what happens with the weather this afternoon, if it rains I’m sure I will end up with another fantastic result.’

As for the ELF Masters Trophy, it was KÂRCHER sponsored driver Simon Belcher (Swindon) who took home the trophy and extended his lead in the Masters championship. Having lined up on the grid in 12th, the Handy Motorsport with Pyro driver was able to break into the top ten and bring the car home in a strong ninth after a close battle with Scuderia Vittoria’s Ronnie Klos (Market Harborough).

‘I didn’t get a great start to be honest’, commented Belcher. ‘I was a little slow away and was then boxed in at the first corner which dropped me a few places and then carnage appeared in front of me, which I kind of knew was going to appear somewhere down the line. That put me down further down the field than what I wanted to, so I really had to work for it. I had to pass a number of cars to finish in ninth, but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the overtaking and when you get a race like that where you make a lot of passes, running side-by-side with people inches from the barrier, that’s what makes racing great fun.’

Elsewhere, it was not the greatest of races for Norwich’s Josh Files as a bad start lead to him being swamped by the rest of the grid forcing him down the pack. Slipping into midfield, the Team Pyro driver was able to make his way back up the pack but mechanical damage ended any hopes of a strong finish as his car limped across the line in a lonely 18th.

‘It was a nightmare really’ said a disappointed Files. ‘I went when the lights were still red and then I had to stop just as the lights went green, which caught me off guard and dropped me down into seventh or eighth. I was able to get back up into fifth, but then I was hit by Colburn, which damaged the rear beam, then I was in about sixth through the first lap and then I was right up behind Colburn and I went up the inside as he left the door open, which he then decided to shut so I clipped his back end because I was already committed to the move, which then broke the steering. Then I was cruising round with no steering or back end only then for Hodgetts to take me out as well for no reason, even though I was all the way off the track letting people through. The car finally gave up right at the end so I let the leaders overlap me just so I could finish early. A wet race will be fine, you never know what you’re going to get in either a wet or dry race, but in the dry we should have done really well, but it just didn’t happen for us today.

What looks to now be a wet Round 12 of the AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup takes place at 15.50 today. Follow all the live action on ITV4 and ITV4 HD and online at http://www.itv.com.

Round 11 Classification 

1. Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE Laps 14 21:25.987

2. Jack GOFF Team Pyro +0.366

3. James DIXON Total Control Racing +1.009

4. Josh COOK 20Ten Racing +3.703

5. Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +4.630

6. Mike BUSHELL MBR 6.957

7. Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing +19.265

8. William DAVISON Westbourne Motorsport +20.882

9. Simon BELCHER Handy Motorsport with Pyro +21.624

10. Rob SMITH Total Control Racing +25.114


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

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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