Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, the fastest track on the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup calendar, will welcome the all-action Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder series this coming weekend, 3rd/4th May, with just four points separating the top two in the standings.
Fresh from his debut in the ‘World Series by Renault’ Eurocup Clio category last weekend, where he posted two points finishes at Motorland Aragon in Spain, current Renault UK Clio Cup championship leader Alex Morgan (Reading) will be determined to increase his slim four point advantage.
The Welshman’s SV Racing with KX team-mate Josh Cook (Bath) is his nearest challenger and after a superb double victory at Donington Park just under a fortnight ago, Cook will be aiming to continue his terrific momentum.
Ominously for his rivals, not only is Cook heading to Thruxton off the back of an almost faultless weekend in the East Midlands last time out, he also topped officially timed testing at the 2.35-mile Hampshire venue earlier this month.
Making it three SV Racing competitors at the top of the championship, Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) goes into the third event of the season 23 points adrift of Cook and after racing to his first podium of the season at Donington he’ll certainly be one to watch.
Just a single point behind Whorton-Eales is Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) who, after an unfortunate non-finish in round four, needs to get his season back on track with competitors only permitted two ‘drop scores’ during the year.
From Whorton-Eales down, the whole championship is incredibly tight with just 24 points separating third to 10th place in the driver standings. Behind Bushell, Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) and WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Banstead) are tied for fifth position with Pyro’s Rob Smith (Telford) only four points shy in seventh.
Donington pole position qualifier Jordan Stilp (Potterspury), Ash Hand (Nuneaton) and Devon Modell (Maidstone) complete the top 10 for 20Ten Racing, SV Racing and Westbourne. Hand, who starred in round four with a superb second place finish, will be aiming for more of the same at Thruxton.
Modell, as during the Donington weekend, will have an incredibly busy schedule as he is dovetailing his Clio Cup campaign with a GT4 Class bid in the British GT Championship – the latter in action for its third round of 2014 at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.
Lee Pattison (Scholes) meanwhile, an outright race winner at Thruxton last season in the previous generation Clio Cup car, has switched to Team Pyro since the Donington Park rounds – expanding Mark Hunt’s line-up to three cars for the first time this year.
With no pre-event testing prior to this weekend’s action at Thruxton, the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup drivers will head straight into qualifying on Saturday, 3rd May, at 11.20 with both races taking place on Sunday, 4th May. Round five will get underway at 10.40 with round six taking place at 15.50 – the latter will be screened live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and streamed at www.itv.com/btcc
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd4):
1st Alex Morgan, 107pts; 2nd Josh Cook, 103pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 80pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd4):
1st Josh Cook, 114pts; 2nd Ant Whorton-Eales, 103pts; 3rd Rob Smith,96pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd4):
1st Paul Rivett, 124pts; 2nd Lee Pattison, 116pts; =3rd Mark Howard & Craig Milner, 94pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd4):
1st SV Racing with KX, 228pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 145pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 130pts