Brilliant lights-to-flag drive nets Rivett fourth win of year

Paul Rivett (Banstead) scorched to an unchallenged three second victory during round 11 of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup at Snetterton 300 Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 3rd August, following an outstanding lights-to-flag drive from the front row of the grid.

Making a terrific getaway, the Names.co.uk/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver beat pole position qualifier, and championship leader, Josh Files (Norwich) away from the line to open a clear lead into the first corner, Riches, and he concluded a storming first lap almost two seconds to the good.

Thereafter controlling the race, Rivett headed home Files – who managed to retain the series lead by a single point courtesy of the bonus score for setting the fastest lap – comfortably to take a faultless fourth win of the campaign. Fortunately, the chequered flag fell just before the arrival of heavy rain.

Adding some extra fun to the podium celebrations, Rivett donned a cardboard cut-out mask sporting the face of team principal Colin Stancombe, who isn’t at Snetterton this weekend due to clashing commitments, as a cheeky tribute to the incomparable team boss.

“I got a great start, it was a bit of a repeat of what we managed last year, and then just disappeared into the distance”, said an elated Rivett, “It’s a shame we didn’t get the fastest lap, we’ve only pulled two points back on Josh [Files] so he has the championship lead still. I was quite relaxed but when I saw the rain clouds coming in I thought, right, we’ve got to get to the finish as quick as we can!”

With all of the hard work done on the opening lap, Rivett was never under any pressure but Files, too, was in a similar position as the pair were head and shoulders above the rest of the field – the Team Pyro racer taking the chequered flag in second place more than 15 seconds clear of the pack to also bag his sixth Graduate Cup class victory.

“Paul [Rivett] and I spoke before the race and we both said let’s just pull away together, because we will, and we did”, said Files, “He pulled away on the first lap, he got it done at the start, and after the first four laps I just gave up to be honest – a podium was better than chucking the car off. When I saw the black clouds coming I had the same idea as Rivett, let’s gun it and get there before it rains!”

With Rivett and Files in a race of their own, all eyes were on the intense battle for the final podium position which, in the end, went the way of JHR Developments’ Josh Cook (Bristol) after a coming together between KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria team-mates Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) and Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) on the penultimate lap at the chicane.

At the start, Whorton-Eales made a sensational getaway from sixth on the grid to climb into third before taking second from Files around the outside at Riches. Files quickly hit back, re-taking second at Agostini, and after that Whorton-Eales came under pressure from Pyro’s Alex Morgan (Reading), Cook, Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) and Bushell.

Driving well and not putting a wheel wrong, Whorton-Eales clung onto third as the queue of cars behind started to jostle and eighth placed Lee Pattison (Liversedge), the clear Masters Cup class leader, began to make his presence felt.

Into Riches on lap four, Pattison edged ahead of Colburn and Bushell as they ran three abreast into the corner but a tap to Pattison’s car unsettled his Clio and he subsequently dropped towards the tail of the top 20. Colburn also lost momentum but Bushell emerged unscathed in fifth.

Into lap seven, Whorton-Eales had Cook and Bushell nose-to-tail behind him across the line but still managed to fend off their attentions with Morgan – who was elbowed back from fourth three laps earlier – also closing back in. At the chicane, though, Bushell sliced past on the brakes with a great move to take fourth away from Cook.

As dark clouds began to roll in over the circuit, Bushell next targeted his team-mate in third but an attempted pass, again at the chicane, on the penultimate lap resulted in contact with Whorton-Eales and the pair ran off the circuit through the gravel – elevating Cook into the final podium place.

At the finish, Cook headed home Morgan by 0.8 seconds to gladly secure his fourth overall podium of the year with Ash Hand (Nuneaton) an outstanding fifth for Pyro, up from ninth on the grid, to record the best result of his maiden season in cars.

“I was certainly gifted it, but part of racing is staying on the black stuff”, commented Cook on his third place finish, “[Mike] Bushell tried the same move on [Ant] Whorton-Eales as he tried on me, but didn’t execute it as well and they went off. We made some changes after qualifying and we’ve certainly made some progress, JHR gave me a very good car.”

Scuderia Vittoria’s Devon Modell (Maidstone) was another to impress, backing up a strong top 10 qualifying performance with an excellent sixth place finish, with Whorton-Eales eventually taking seventh ahead of Bushell and Colburn. Pyro’s James Nutbrown climbed through from 15th on the grid to post his third top 10 of the year while 12th overall for Pattison gave him his seventh Masters win.

KX Racing’s Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) retired on lap six with steering failure. Inadvertently collecting Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford), the pair battling on the fringe of the top 10 at the time, Smith ultimately finished in 17th place.

Post-race, meanwhile, Bushell was penalised for his part in the incident with Whorton-Eales on lap nine which means a loss of three championship points and a grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.

Round 12 of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup is scheduled to get underway at 11.10 in the morning, Sunday, 4th August, with ‘as-live’ television coverage set to be screened during the afternoon on ITV4 and ITV4 HD. Files will start again from pole position with Rivett alongside on the front row.

Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd11):
1st Josh Files, 265pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 264pts; 3rd Alex Morgan, 237pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd11):
1st Team Pyro, 502pts; 2nd Scuderia Vittoria, 405pts; 3rd JHR Developments, 369pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd11):
1st Josh Files, 305pts; 2nd James Colburn, 266pts; 3rd Josh Cook, 243pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd11):
1st Simon Belcher, 279pts; 2nd Graham Field, 258pts; 3rd Lee Pattison, 224pts