Max Marzorati wins first-ever Renault UK Clio Cup Junior race to win on car racing debut

Max Marzorati became the first-ever race winner in the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior championship at Snetterton, emerging victorious from a breath-taking nine-lap encounter which ended with the top four drivers across the line covered by less than a second…
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Starting fifth on a damp but drying track, the Team Pyro driver Marzorati kept his cool to work his way through the field and ultimately write his name into the Renault Sport history books.

Marzorati’s Pyro team-mate Lorcan Hanafin started the race from pole position but got away slowly and tumbled to sixth as MRM Racing’s Jack Young took the lead from JamSport Racing’s Ethan Hammerton.

The top two began to build up a gap to Hammerton's third-placed team-mate Gus Burton while, behind, Hanafin started his fight back with a pass on WDE Motorsport’s Connor Grady.

Up front Hammerton then moved past Young to take the lead entering the left-handed into Palmer’s bend but their battle was to soon allow both the recovering Hanafin and Marzorati, who had also passed Grady, to close in.

As the lead battle hotted up it would be two incidents at the Wilson hairpin that would decide the race’s outcome. In the first both Young and Hammerton were badly delayed – the latter later being forced to retire his car with damage to its right rear corner – and in the second it was the unfortunate Burton who was affected.

Out of it all came Hanafin in the lead but he was demoted to second when Marzorati pulled off a brave move at the hairpin. Marzorati, who also set the race’s fastest lap for two bonus points, then soaked up the pressure in the closing laps to eventually take the chequered flag ahead of Hanafin and JamSport’s Louis Doyle who just got the better of Grady to cross the line in third.

However Doyle would be promoted to second in the result and Grady to third when officials later excluded Hanafin for his part in the two earlier incidents.

Behind them, the recovering Burton and Young took fifth and sixth – which later became fourth and fifth when the amended result was issued.

An elated Marzorati, a protégé of current British Touring Car Championship leader Ashley Sutton, said: “I’m so happy – this is a brilliant feeling. I had a poor start and that left me thinking that a podium would be a good result. But there was a lot going on and I just remained consistent and pounced when the opportunity presented itself.

“It isn’t too bad a result considering it is my first-ever race! I have to thank the team, my sponsors and driver coach Ash Sutton – they have all been an integral part of getting me to this point.”

The second race of the day at Snetterton is scheduled to get underway at 16:55. Young will start it from pole position ahead of Burton. Meanwhile Hanafin, who had qualified second fastest for it, will instead start from sixth because of a four-place grid penalty handed to him as part of his race one exclusion.

Round 1, Renault UK Clio Cup Junior, Snetterton:
1. Max Marzorati (Team Pyro), 9 laps in 21m35.509s
2. Louis Doyle (JamSport Racing), +0.763s
3. Connor Grady (WDE Motorsport), +0.906s
4. Gus Burton (JamSport Racing), +1m38.485s
5. Jack Young (MRM Racing), +1m57.868s
DNF. Ethan Hammerton (JamSport Racing), +6 laps
EXC. Lorcan Hanafin (Team Pyro)
Fastest lap: Marzorati, 2m20.027s