On a sunny, yet bitterly cold Sunday morning, it was pole sitter Paul Rivett who took the top step of the podium and a lights to flag victory in an action packed AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race.
‘I had an absolutely great race,’ said the 33-year old Surrey driver.‘ Colin (Stancombe) got up this morning and polished my side of the windscreen, kicked the tyres and we went. The PER HIRE car has been absolutely great, really pleased and hopefully we can have another win this afternoon.’
The PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s three-time champion, Rivett, led into turn one with an aggressive Josh Files (Norwich) pushing hard from second, who unfortunately ran wide at Coppice re-joining in 17th position, leaving the door open for third placed man Adam Bonham (Kibworth).
Early race retirements included rally ace, Adam Gould (Bristol), Kercher sponsored Simon Belcher (Swindon) and family sponsored Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells), who came together with fellow rookie Aaron Williamson (Holbeach), both suffering steering arm damage.
Up front, 17-year old Bonham was putting Rivett under pressure, cutting his lead down to just 0.4sec as theyboth pulled away from the rest of the pack. Rivett responded to the challenge and eventually increased his lead to nearly 3 seconds on the final lap.
‘We qualified quite well yesterday.’ said the former Ginetta Junior driver. ‘I got a really good start getting ahead of Josh (Files), who had some bad luck with teammate Goff and had a big off. I managed to catch Paul and get fastest lap, which is obviously brilliant, I was really, really happy with that. Then I started to get some power shortage towards the end, but the team has done an excellent job to qualify second, third, fourth and fifth. Really looking forward to the next race but I’ve qualified fifth but hopefully I can get another podium.’
Meanwhile, lap one spinner Files was fighting back through the pack from 17th eventually finishing in 9th position.
It was the battle for third place that was cause of much excitement with Team Pyro’s Jack Goff (Stokenchurch) leading a six-car battle for the final step on the podium.
Goff, under pressure from rookie leader Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), who made an impressive start, finally succumbed after a brief slide losing places two places to Westbourne Motorsport’s Whorton-Eales and Scuderia Vittoria’s Luke Wright (Shaftesbury), who finished fourth.
‘Today went really well, said Ant. ‘I started tenth on the grid and finished third, which was unexpected to be honest. I would like to thank the Westbourne Motorsport team for doing such a great job this weekend and let’s hope we can continue this afternoon.’
After an on-going battle throughout the race, Total Control Racing’s Nic Hamilton (Tewin) finished 11th ahead of Scuderia Vittoria’s Vic Covey (East Lothian) crossing the line split by only a few hundredths of a second.
Elsewhere in the ELF Masters Class, it was the flying Scotsman, Finlay Crocker (West Lothian) who took home thetrophy after surviving the mid-pack action.
The former Scottish Mini Challenge competitor, ‘I got an ok start. I was just trying to keep out of trouble. I was bottled up behind Nic Hamilton and Vic Covey and the guys behind then caught up and as soon as I started defending I dropped off a few places and had a bit of contact with Jake Giddings. Fortunately both cars are back without any damage.’
Round 3 Results:
1. Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE Laps 14 18:19.568
2. Adam BONHAM Team Pyro +2.979
3. Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport +8.566
4. Luke WRIGHT Scuderia Vittoria +9.001
5. Jack GOFF Team Pyro +9.560
6. Kim ANDERSSON Team Pyro +9. 737
7. James DIXON Scuderia Vittoria +10.132
8. Josh COOK 20Ten Racing +10.311
9. Josh FILES Team Pyro +15.611
10. William DAVISON Westbourne Motorsport +17.319