Another outstanding performance from Michelin Clio Cup Race Series championship leader Mike Robinson (Surbiton) at Snetterton 300 Circuit today, Sunday, 31st August, secured the Total Control Racing driver his fourth successive race victory and seventh win of 2014.
Having seen off huge pressure to claim a memorable success on Saturday, Robinson further boosted his advantage at the top of the standings to 52 points over David Dickenson (Wicklow, Ireland) with only two races remaining.
Making an even start to round 10 with fellow front-row qualifier Brett Smith (Wellingborough), Robinson managed to nose ahead of the Team Pyro driver on the run into Riches and, as was the case on Saturday, he was never headed.
Although an early Safety Car period added some extra spice, the championship leader made a great re-start and when late race challenger Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) sustained a puncture at Coram with little more than a lap to run, Robinson eased to a 3.4 second winning margin.
“I think we’ve got more than a 50 point cushion now, so that’s really nice to go into the last round with a lead like that – that was the aim today”, said the TCR racer, “As ever, it was crucial to get the start and getting clean away. I did make a small mistake at the second corner and thought I might have blown it for a minute but, thankfully, I managed to hold David [Dickenson] off.”
As Robinson led away at the start, there was drama further back in the pack when Sam Randon (Ashbourne), Pete Bennett (Blundeston) and Andy Wilkins (Harpenden) were caught-up at the exit of Riches – Wilkins and Randon both forced to retire as a result of an unfortunate tangle.
At the front, Smith was elbowed down to fifth out of Montreal with Dickenson moving through to second ahead of Whorton-Eales and Luke Herbert (Chichester). With nothing much to split the lead group, yet another superb race was in prospect but the action fell under caution on lap three to enable recovery from the lap one incident.
Racing resumed within a lap and Robinson got the jump superbly, pulling away from his pursuers as Smith and Paul Streather (Hinckley) squabbled over fifth position at Montreal. Whorton-Eales looked especially quick at the wheel of his SV Racing-run Clio and challenged Dickenson successfully for second at the exit of Agostini, with Herbert moving up to third as Dickenson was edged wide.
Robinson managed to pull out a lead of over a second as the race reached the halfway point, but Whorton-Eales mounted a terrific charge. Punching in the fastest lap of the race on lap seven, a 300 Circuit lap record for the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series of 2m08.656 seconds (83.07mph), he closed right up behind the leader but a luckless puncture on lap eight pitched him off the track at Coram.
The net result was a clear win for Robinson in the end with Dickenson keeping his title hopes alive in second place, just 0.1 seconds ahead of team-mate Smith with Herbert right in their wheeltracks in fourth position.
“It was a great advertisement for the championship this weekend”, said Dickenson, “Having Ant [Whorton-Eales] come in from the TOCA championship [Renault UK Clio Cup], and not walk away with qualifying or the races either, has given this series a lot of credibility.
“I’m looking forward to Croft, I’ll go there with the attitude to try and win both races and get as close to Mike [Robinson] as I can in the championship. I wouldn’t wish him any bad luck, he’s driven clean all year and has been the class of the field. If he wraps it up, he’ll be a deserving champion.”
Ben Davis (Much Marcle) impressed once more to make it a clean sweep of Sport Class victories on his car racing debut, the Finesse Motorsport driver emerging ahead in a great battle with Pyro’s Ollie Pidgley (Downton) to take fifth overall. Only 0.3 seconds separated the pair after a great tussle.
Brett Lidsey (Dartford) was seventh for 20Ten Racing ahead of TCR’s Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth), the recovering Bennett in his Finesse-run Clio and 20Ten’s Tom Butler (Allestree). Streather, meanwhile, was classified 13th after an enforced pit-stop due to damage sustained when clattering the kerbs.
Birthday boy Spires seals Road Series crown with seventh win of 2014
Westbourne Motorsport’s Anton Spires (Milton Keynes) secured the Michelin Clio Road Series crown in style during the category’s standalone race, round 10 of the season, with a dominant 26 second victory – and all on his 22nd birthday.
Starting on pole position, his sixth of the year, Spires made a clean getaway and went on to utterly dominate the nine lap encounter. Reeling off a series of fastest laps, he claimed the best of the race on the eighth tour which was just a fraction outside his Road Series lap record from Saturday.
“It’s fantastic to win the championship and I’m really pleased with how me and Westbourne have progressed throughout the year”, said the inaugural Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Champion, “They have given me a really good car, a great package, so huge thanks to them for all of their hard work.
“From here I’d like to progress through the ladder of Renault Clios, so the next step is to try and find the budget to move into the Race Series next year. It’s a case of going back, trying to find business partners, sponsorship and stuff like that – the natural procedure really.”
Nic Harrison (Stretton) finished in second place at the wheel of his CGHimports.com entered Clio Renaultsport 197, taking the chequered flag 10 seconds clear of Sarah Franklin (Kettering) who secured her third podium of the year.
Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire will host the final two rounds of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series season over the weekend 20th/21st September.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices.
Provisional 2014 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series Driver Standings (after Rd10 inc. drop score):
1st Mike Robinson, 282pts; 2nd David Dickenson, 230pts; 3rd Luke Herbert, 207pts
Provisional 2014 Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Driver Standings (after Rd10 inc. drop score):
Champion: Anton Spires, 296pts; 2nd Nic Harrison, 215pts; 3rd Sarah Franklin, 197pts