Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire welcomes the spectacular Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup next weekend, 28th/29th June, where current championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) will be hoping to tighten his grip at the top of the standings by increasing his unbroken run of six straight podiums.
Going into the fifth event of the 2014 campaign, the 40th anniversary season of Renault motorsport in Britain, the 23-year-old has a significant 32-point lead in the outright driver standings with seven podiums from the first eight races, including three victories.
Similarly dominant in the Graduate Cup class for younger competitors, Cook has a 19-point cushion in that particular battle – with four wins – and it’d be foolish to bet against the SV Racing with KX driver enjoying yet more success in the North East a week from now.
James Colburn (Worthing) is Cook’s closest challenger ahead of rounds nine and 10, having climbed into second position in the championship following his best weekend of the season at Oulton Park International Circuit a fortnight ago.
As well as racing to an excellent pressure-filled win in round eight, the Westbourne Motorsport driver’s second victory of the year, he also posted a strong podium finish in round seven so goes into the Croft weekend with a real head of steam off the back of three straight rostrum visits.
Next up in the championship is VitalRacing with Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells), eight points behind Colburn. One of the main contenders from the outset, Bushell secured his first ever victory at Thruxton but his campaign has also been blighted with bad luck – not least a non-finish at Donington Park and a qualifying excursion at Oulton Park which limited his points scoring ability.
Alex Morgan (Reading) is fourth in the standings ahead of the Renault UK Clio Cup’s visit to Croft and is hungrier than ever to break back into the championship top three, as well as making an overdue return to the podium. Since his memorable double win at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit at the beginning of the season, the SV Racing with KX driver has encountered more than his share of difficulties.
Following his second podium of the season at Oulton Park, on a weekend where he secured a sensational double pole position, Morgan’s team-mate Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) is fifth in the standings but just seven points ahead of Masters Cup pace-setter Lee Pattison (Scholes). The Team Pyro driver is, in turn, just a single point clear of 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury).
Championship newcomer Charlie Ladell (Felixstowe), who made his Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup debut last time out with a brace of eighth place finishes, will be looking to make continued progress for WDE Motorsport. Team-mate and WDE team manager Paul Rivett (Banstead) hasn’t had the most straightforward season to date, but the three-time champion can’t be underestimated.
Pre-event practice at Croft will take place on Friday, 27th June, with qualifying following on Saturday, 28th June, at 15.05. Both races will be contested on Sunday, 29th June, with round nine beginning at approximately 12.40 and round 10 scheduled to commence around 16.20 – ITV4 and ITV4 HD will screen all of the racing action live with online streaming 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 Rd8):
1st Josh Cook, 215pts; 2nd James Colburn, 183pts; 3rd Mike Bushell, 175pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd8):
1st Josh Cook, 231pts; 2nd James Colburn, 212pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 191pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd8):
1st Lee Pattison, 240pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 206pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 147pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd8):
1st SV Racing with KX, 428pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 321pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 295pts