Croft ready to welcome new Michelin Clio Cup Series

Following a highly successful debut at Snetterton in Norfolk seven weeks ago, the new-for-2013 Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre will resume its season at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit this weekend, 6th/7th July, with the third and fourth races of the inaugural campaign.

Established for its maiden year as a series of races rather than a championship, the Renault UK and British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) category – which features classes for third generation Clio Cup race cars and converted Clio Renaultsport 197 roadcars – has certainly hit the ground running.

Two excellent contests were delivered during the season-opener at Snetterton back in May and more of the same is expected at Croft’s popular 2.12-mile track, with a total of 14 cars expected on the grid – 11 in the headline ‘Racecar’ class and three in the more cost-effective ‘Roadcar’ class.

Luke Herbert (Chichester) heads the entry for the third and fourth races of 2013, having been the star performer at Snetterton with two pole positions and a pair of outstanding victories in his family entered car.

While ultimately dominant in terms of results, Herbert’s race one victory was by no means easy and he had to overcome an excellent performance from ex-Renault UK Clio Cup competitor Rob Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) who led the bulk of the 15-lapper. At Croft this weekend, the Meridian Motorsport team boss will run under the Unique Autosport banner.

The EPM Technology/20Ten Racing team also enjoyed a tremendous weekend at Snetterton with team principal Darren Wilson (Newark), another former Renault UK Clio Cup racer, taking a superb second place finish in race two. Team-mate Peter Felix (Allestree, Derby), meanwhile, claimed two very well deserved podiums with third in each encounter.

Privateer runner Brett Lidsey (Dartford), who was an impressive fourth in both Snetterton races, Procom Team Racing’s David Pierce (Larkfield), who took a best finish of fifth in race two, and EPM Technology/20 Ten Racing’s Graham Mulholland (Duffield), twice a top six finisher, will all be aiming for similarly strong performances at Croft.

Completing the entry in the ‘Racecar’ class are father and son privateers Ian and Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth) and Scuderia Vittoria’s car racing rookie James Weston (Tunbridge Wells). Jason Tarling (Wickham Bishops), meanwhile, is set to make his Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre debut in a privately-entered third generation Clio racer.

Norwegian youngster Tommy Ostgaard is almost certain to be the pace-setter once again in the ‘Roadcar’ division, following a sensational saloon car debut at Snetterton. The former single-seater competitor, driving an SWB Motorsport-prepared Clio Renaultsport 197 running on Michelin Pilot Sport 3 road tyres, claimed two clear class victories.

Team-mate, and karting graduate, Sam Randon (Ashbourne) will be aiming to close the gap on his second weekend in a front-wheel drive Clio as will motorsport novice Jake Honour (Melksham), who fields a self-converted Clio Renaultsport 197.

Following hot-on-the-heels of the sister Renault UK Clio Cup, which was in action at Croft just over a week ago, the Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre will take to the track for the first time during qualifying on Saturday, 6th July, at 09.30 with the first race scheduled to start at 14.00. On Sunday, 7th July, the second qualifying session will begin at 12.05 with race two following at 14.55.

Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Safety Devices, Mark Fish Motorsport, The Lubricant Consultancy and NGK Spark Plugs.