04/06/2018

Oulton Park key to WDE & Westbourne keeping pressure on Pyro in teams’ title race

Team Pyro might have made an early break for it in the Renault UK Clio Cup’s Entrants Trophy but don’t be fooled – the opposition is much closer than it looks heading to Oulton Park's two rounds this weekend...
  • Pattison-01.jpg (11)
  • Colburn-04.jpg (2)
  • Epps-01.jpg (3)

Make no mistake: Pyro deserves its lead. It has again attracted a stellar line-up of talent for 2018 and in all six rounds to date at least two of its drivers have always finished high up.

It is after all the combined scores of a team’s two highest placed drivers in each race that counts and Pyro’s finishing record in that respect has again been exemplary.

At Brands Hatch there was a third and a fifth in race one (Daniel Rowbottom and Max Coates), followed by first and third in race two (Coates and Jack McCarthy); at Donington Park it was second and third in both races (Rowbottom and McCarthy and then Bradley Burns and McCarthy); at Thruxton another 2-3 was followed by a 3-4 (both Coates and Rowbottom).

On four occasions it has scored higher than any of its rivals and it is this greater consistency that has enabled it to draw 64 points (greater than a maximum score of 47) clear of nearest rival WDE Motorsport.

But it’s not quite as clear cut as that. Only misfortune has kept WDE and third-placed Westbourne Motorsport from being considerably closer…

Paul Rivett has been WDE’s highest finisher in five of the six races with Lee Pattison backing him up on four occasions. Indeed their 1-4 in Brands Hatch’s opening round put WDE into an immediate lead while a 2-6 in race two there meant the squad left just three points adrift of Pyro at the head of the table.

It is race one at Donington Park that will haunt WDE, however. A disastrous lap one saw Rivett and Pattison both go out within seconds of one another and, although Sam Osborne and Dan Zelos managed to score with eighth and 12th place finishes, some considerable damage had been done.

Osborne it must be said was a podium contender in both Brands races before being shuffled down the order. Zelos, too, could have been right up there in both races at Thruxton had two strong grid positions not been hurt by problems at the start. Oh, the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of motor sport…

Westbourne has come closest of anyone to a dream 1-2 result when James Dorlin won race one at Donington and next over the line was team-mate James Colburn. Frustratingly though a time penalty would relegate Colburn to fourth and a potential 47 points instead became 43 (as 38 for Pyro suddenly became 42)!

Again in race two at the Leicestershire circuit there was the sniff of a 1-2 before Colburn suffered a spin while lying in second. He had been on great form at Brands Hatch as well with a second place in race one. Retirement in race two however was another setback whereas Dorlin had an out of sorts pair of races before going on his recent run of his wins.

If Colburn can regain that early season form (last season he won at Oulton Park which is next up on the calendar) and team-mate Dorlin’s current purple patch continues then Westbourne could soon be enjoying that 1-2 at last.

Heading to Oulton it is third in the standings, just 15 points adrift of WDE. However with only two drivers it cannot afford either to slip up when faced with the five cars each of Pyro and WDE…

Add in the ever-improving form of MRM’s Jade Edwards and Brett Lidsey (tying on points in the drivers’ championship incidentally!) and also the new Matrix Motorsport squad – ‘lead driver’ Michael Epps already has three top six finishes to his name – and the eventual outcome is far from certain.