03/05/2018

Burns scorches into history books at Donington Park as others also shine

The Renault UK Clio Cup’s book of statistics almost went haywire at Donington Park thanks to 16-year-old sensation Bradley Burns but others also made their mark at the Leicestershire circuit…
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Firstly, flash your minds back to Brands Hatch in early April when Jack McCarthy, aged 17, became the youngest driver in history to qualify on pole position for a round of the Clio Cup – beating a record that had stood for nigh on 12 years.

Now fast forward to Donington and, zap! In just three weeks it had gone again thanks to Burns bagging pole for the second of the weekend’s two races.

Given Burns’s tender age, it’s also a record that could now end up standing for another 12 years or more. Time will tell.

Burns of course then went on to lead race two at Donington – becoming the youngest driver to do so in the championship’s history. He was eventually beaten back into second but still he had become the youngest driver to finish a Clio Cup race inside the top three. And he also set a new race lap record – his second in just five events.

Donington’s race two podium also had history written all over it for it was the youngest ever seen. Make a note – the cherub-like faces on it were those of James Dorlin (just turned 19), Burns (16) and McCarthy (17). That’s a combined age of just 51. The mind boggles…

For McCarthy, it was his third consecutive third place finish – these the best results of his career so far. Like Burns, he had also led a race for the first time…

Earlier in the day another Pyro driver, Daniel Rowbottom, had celebrated his highest finish to date with a second while, not so far behind with a breakthrough fifth for himself and the MRM team was Brett Lidsey (and this after qualifying a career-high sixth). Adding to MRM’s delight, team-mate Jade Edwards would equal her best finish so far with an eighth in race two…

Fifth in race two meanwhile signalled Pyro’s other 16-year-old rising star Zak Fulk’s best finish yet.

Back to race one, it had been Dorlin on the pole. This was the second pole of his career but the first time he’d actually been permitted to start from the front after a grid penalty had denied him of the opportunity at Snetterton last year…

Meanwhile his two wins at Donington increased his victory tally to four in just 22 races – a hugely impressive hit rate of 18.2% that ranks second only to the 23.3% of triple Champion Paul Rivett (48 in 206 races).

Significantly, the driver that Dorlin led across the line in race one at Donington was his Westbourne team-mate James Colburn. It should therefore have been a dream 1-2 result for the stalwart West Sussex squad but a time penalty for Colburn, given for exceeding track limits, meant it was not to be as he was relegated to fourth in the final order.

Elsewhere at Donington, newcomers Andy Wilmot and Jeff Alden improved on their debut results from Brands Hatch: the former was up to 14th in qualifying and then took an equal-best result of 13th; the latter managed 18th on the grid and also bagged his first point with a 15th.

Donington heralded a first (and very promising) appearance for the small BLG Racing outfit and its driver Luke Warr. Nineteenth and 16th were their best qualifying and race results respectively and give them something to work on next time out at Thruxton.