Championship Riv-alry Continues

As this year’s AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup nears an end, Paul Rivett (Banstead) took two crucial pole positions for this weekend’s rounds thirteen and fourteen at Northampton’s iconic Silverstone circuit ahead of long standing championship rival Jack Goff, who starts Race 1 in sixth place.

Heading into this weekend trailing Goff (High Wycombe) by just fifteen points in the driver’s table, three-time champion Rivett, has set his sights on cutting his rival’s lead, if not snatching the top-spot from the 21-year old. But anything can happen at Silverstone with just 0.993secs separating twenty of the twenty-one drivers.

‘Well happy with qualifying’, said an elated Rivett. ‘We were quickest in old boots in testing yesterday so I knew we could do it in qualifying today as long as everything went well. To be honest, I would have liked to have got more out of the car than I did as I think we can go quicker than that and hopefully prove well for the race. As long as I get it off the line well tomorrow then there should be no looking back, but this is Clio racing at the end of the day and anything can happen.’

Having lead the championship from the first race at Brands Hatch in April, Goff has a lot to do if he wishes to leave this weekend still leading the championship, but the Stokenchurch born driver is looking forward to the challenge and has his fingers tightly crossed.

‘It was slightly frustrating’, said a disappointed Goff. ‘It could have been better, but it could have also been worse so let’s see what we can do in tomorrow’s race. I definitely reckon I can fight my way through the field as you get a good slip-stream here and I hope to be able to use that to my advantage and close back in.’

Goff’s teammate Adam Bonham in his blue Alpine Furniture sponsored Clio lines up in second place for both races, just 0.033secs separates him from pole. The 18-year old from Kibworth has set his sights on winning his first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race this season.

‘I’m happy with second’, said Bonham. ‘I can still win from there hopefully. I was on pole for about half of the session, but then I lost the place to Paul when I was in the pits, which was a bit disappointing, but I’m still happy with today. Second place is really fast here so I’m chuffed and I’m hoping for a win.’

Starting tomorrow’s first race from third is Total Control Racing’s James Dixon (Maidstone), who stood on the third step of the podium in both races at the last outing in Rockingham and looks to have carried that winning momentum with him into this weekend. Having been disappointed that he was not able to gain on Goff and Rivett in the points table, Dixon will certainly try his best to hold off a charging Goff and take home some valuable points.

Also having finished the last outing in winning ways was 20Ten Racing’s Josh Cook (Bath), who after winning both Rookie Trophies, lines up in fourth for the weekend’s first race, but then lines up an impressive third for the second race after setting his fastest time on his last lap.

‘It was an interesting qualifying’ said the 21-year old Cook. ‘The first set of tires didn’t go well for us, but we managed to get a tow off Rivett on our second set, but I think my fastest lap was on my last lap. It was pretty difficult finding space out there, but overall it was a really good session.’

‘I’ve been unwell in the last week, but I’m ok now,’ continued Cook. ‘When you get out there and the adrenaline gets going you don’t feel too bad really. I’m happy with how today went and am now looking forward to the race.’

Cook’s new teammate, Graham Field (Southwell), who replaces Clio Cup retiree Darren Wilson, tries his hand for the first time this weekend and will line up at the back of the grid hoping to avoid all the mid-pack action that ensues in usual Clio Cup fashion.

‘It was my first time in the car and it was a lot of good fun,’ said Field. ‘My hopes for tomorrow are to finish the race with no damage and just generally enjoy myself. Starting from the back I’ve got a bit of an advantage so there is no excuse to be caught out in the mid-pack carnage.’

The second newcomer to the series is Team Pyro backed David Dickenson (Keatingstown), who impressed in his first qualifying session to put his car thirteenth right in the middle of the action.

‘It wasn’t too bad,’ said the Irishman. ‘It’s so close around here, but with thirteenth I’m happy. It will be good racing and hopefully I’ll be able to get the car off the line well and then go away and hide from the mid-pack carnage and bring the car home in one piece…hopefully.’

Elsewhere, it was Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s ELF Masters podium regular Simon Belcher (Swindon) who qualified as the quickest Master in seventeenth ahead of rivals Ronnie Klos, Finlay Crocker and Graham Field, who line up nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first respectably.

The first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race of Northampton’s Silverstone starts tomorrow at 09.45, with the cars revving up for a second time at 16.25.

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 on www.itv.com.

Qualifying – Round 13 – Classification

1.     Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE 1:05.281

2.     Adam BONHAM Team Pyro 1:05.314

3.     James DIXON Total Control Racing 1:05.409

4.     Josh COOK 20Ten Racing 1:05.459

5.     Josh FILES Team Pyro 1:05.467

6.     Jack GOFF Team Pyro 1:05.554

7.     Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport 1:05.564

8.     Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria 1:05.572

9.     Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing 1:05.575

10.  Mike BUSHELL MBR 1:05.755

11.  Vic COVEY Scuderia Vittoria 1:05.786

12.  Rob SMITH Total Control Racing 1:05.841

13.  David DICKENSON Team Pyro 1:05.850

14.  Nic HAMILTON Total Control Racing 1:05.879

15.  Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd 1:05.882

16.  James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport 1:05.930

17.  Simon BELCHER Handy Motorsport with Pyro 1:05.935

18.  William DAVISON Westbourne Motorsport 1:05.943

19.  Ronnie KLOS Scuderia Vittoria 1:06.008

20.  Finlay CROCKER Scuderia Vittoria 1:06.274

21.  Graham FIELD 20Ten Racing 1:07.512

-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

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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