Josh Files (Norwich) is the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Champion after finishing in a fighting fourth place during the penultimate race of the season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 12th October.
As well as provisionally sealing the coveted title, the 22-year-old also wrapped-up the Graduate Cup class title with one round to spare and his season-long efforts also helped to ensure the Team Pyro squad has retained the WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy.
In addition to the champion’s trophy, which he will be presented with at Brands Hatch tomorrow, Files also scoops a prize test drive – courtesy of Dunlop and Motorbase Performance – in an NGTC car from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. He also gets the use of a brand new, road-going Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC for one year.
“I’m so proud of all the work Team Pyro and my mechanic Tom has put in this year”, said an elated Files, “Obviously it wouldn’t happen without my sponsors, BACS and Vocalink, they really have been superb – without them we wouldn’t be here. I’ve driven consistently all year, we’ve been quickest at times and made that count and we’ve had a couple of wins and plenty of podiums.
“Finishing fourth today doesn’t seem that great but it’s wrapped-up the championship. It’s an unbelievable feeling, I’m so over the moon as we’ve worked hard for this for three years now. To get it is just unbelievable. I think we’ve been the strongest package out there, certainly in the second half of the season, it’s just a shame Paul [Rivett] couldn’t be here because of his injury.”
While much attention was rightfully directed towards Files, the star turn during this afternoon’s round 15 contest was Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) who converted his second pole position start of the season into a tremendous victory.
Never headed throughout, and producing two fault-free re-starts following a couple of Safety Car periods, Colburn had to soak up a lot of pressure from Pyro’s Alex Morgan (Reading) but was never truly under threat and took the chequered flag 0.6 seconds clear of the Welshman.
“I got a real good start, then we got really good traction going into second gear which let me pull away from Alex [Morgan]”, commented Colburn, “We had a really good first lap and I really didn’t want to see the Safety Car. We got a good re-start, then had to do it again with the second Safety Car, but the pace was there – I’m really happy to be back on the top step.”
Morgan did make a fairly strong initial getaway but with the pole-man hugging the inside line, the former had to tuck back in to second place as KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) maintained third from a rapid Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells).
Bushell, racing with his family-entered MBR squad but with assistance from Team Pyro, managed to edge ahead of Files early on, and challenged Hodgetts for third into Surtees on the opening lap. The champion-in-waiting hit back soon after, though, and remained there to the finish right on the rear bumper of Hodgetts.
While the action was incredibly tight at the front, the lead quartet stayed in the same order for the duration. In fact the lead eight cars ran in very close formation, helped of course by the pair of Safety Car interventions – the first coming as a result of an incident for Martin Byford (Colchester) and the second following an excursion at the exit of Paddock Hill Bend for Malta’s Jacques Mizzi.
Bushell held fifth place until the penultimate lap when he was elbowed back to eighth, elevating JHR Developments’ Josh Cook (Bristol) into fifth shortly after he usurped Pyro’s Ash Hand (Nuneaton) for position. KX Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) finished in seventh place ahead of Bushell with Finesse Motorsport’s Jake Giddings (Wisbech) ninth. Ignas Gelzinis rounded out the top 10 for Juta.
Morgan’s second place finish, his first visit to the rostrum since the Oulton Park event back in June, also helped him to leap-frog the injured Paul Rivett (Banstead) in the driver standings and the first year saloon car racer now has a great chance of ending his debut year as Vice-Champion.
“I’m happy being back on the podium, it’s been a while as we had a bit of a mid-season lull”, said the Pyro driver, “I think the Safety Cars really put the nail in the coffin for me in terms of trying to win the race, I’ll take second, though. I’ve now jumped Paul [Rivett] in the championship, which is unfortunate for him, but I didn’t want that to happen in these circumstances with his injury.
“It’s racing, though, you take it when it comes and now I’ve just got to have another good result tomorrow. If we can get some good points, hopefully I can be secure in second place but anything can happen in a Clio race!”
Masters Cup winner Lee Pattison (Liversedge) battled back impressively from a lap two excursion, which dropped him from ninth to 22nd position overall, to slice his way through into the top 12 and his 10th class victory of the campaign for JHR.
The Masters Cup title battle will be resolved during the live, televised final round of the season tomorrow afternoon. Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s defending champion Simon Belcher (Swindon), who finished fourth in class today after a lap one excursion through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, has a slim six point advantage over Pattison.
Round 16 will get underway at 13.30 tomorrow, Sunday, 13th October, and will be broadcast live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and streamed online at the www.itv.com/btcc website. Colburn will begin the race from pole position ahead of Files, Hodgetts, Morgan, Cook and Bushell. Pattison will start from the Masters Cup pole in 11th position overall – six places ahead of Belcher.
Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd15 inc. drop score):
CHAMPION: Josh Files, 364pts; 2nd Alex Morgan, 308pts; 3rd Paul Rivett, 304pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd15):
CHAMPIONS: Team Pyro, 700pts; 2nd Scuderia Vittoria, 590pts; 3rd JHR Developments, 476pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd15 inc. drop score):
CHAMPION: Josh Files, 405pts; 2nd James Colburn, 352pts; 3rd Josh Cook, 322pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd15 inc. drop score):
1st Simon Belcher, 351pts; 2nd Lee Pattison, 345pts; 3rd Graham Field, 323pts