Clio Cup racers ready for Donington challenge

Britain’s most hotly contested and popular one-make saloon car championship, the Renault UK Clio Cup, will be back in action at Donington Park next weekend, 20th/21st April, where early season leader James Colburn (Worthing) is determined to retain his position at the top of the standings.

Getting his 2013 campaign off to the best possible start at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago with victory in the opening race of the year, the Westbourne Motorsport driver added another podium in race two to depart the Kent venue heading both the outright championship and Graduate Cup class.

Just earlier this week, Colburn was also boosted by setting the fastest time in official testing at Thruxton in Hampshire so he will arrive at Donington Park’s National Circuit for the third and fourth rounds of the season brimming with confidence.

Only three points behind Colburn in the championship race is saloon-car rookie, and motor racing returnee, Alex Morgan (Reading) who grabbed the headlines at Brands Hatch on his Renault UK Clio Cup debut by winning the second of the weekend’s encounters.

Despite having been away from motorsport for well over four years, while studying to become a lawyer, the Team Pyro racer proved he hasn’t lost any of his competitiveness and marked himself out as a genuine title challenger from the outset. So impressive was his overall level of performance at Brands, he was awarded the ‘ Driver of the Event’ accolade.

Leading the chase of the top two is three-time Renault UK Clio Cup Champion, and double Winter Cup winner, Paul Rivett (Banstead) whose place in this year’s championship was only confirmed a couple of days before the opening weekend of the season.

Unsurprisingly, regardless of his lack of pre-season testing, Rivett didn’t take any time at all to adapt to the new Dunlop tyres and managed to climb the podium in round two for PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering.

Behind the coveted top three, only 10 points split the next six drivers to underline the Renault UK Clio Cup’s position as the most competitive and closely-fought category on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support package.

KX Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) holds fourth place, and second in the Graduate Cup, just a single point ahead of Westbourne’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) with Pyro’s Josh Files (Norwich) snapping at their heels. Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford) and Finesse Motorsport’s Jake Giddings (Wisbech) are tied for seventh with JHR Developments’ Josh Cook (Bristol) close behind.

In the Masters Cup class, for drivers over 35-years-of-age, Scuderia Vittoria’s Finlay Crocker (Bathgate) will be hoping to continue his perfect start to the season by adding to the two victories he claimed at Brands Hatch. Reigning class champion Simon Belcher (Swindon), though, is aiming to bounce back from a disappointing season opener and take his first wins of 2013.

Officially timed pre-event testing will take place at Donington Park on Thursday, 18th April, with qualifying and the first race of the weekend set to follow on Saturday, 20th April, at 11.20 and 17.05 respectively. Round four, which will be broadcast live on ITV4, on ITV4 HD and streamed online at the website, is scheduled to get underway at 13.35 on Sunday, 21st April.

Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rds1&2):
1st James Colburn, 57pts; 2nd Alex Morgan, 54pts; 3rd Paul Rivett, 48pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rds1&2):
1st Westbourne Motorsport, 94pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 87pts; 3rd Scuderia Vittoria, 62pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rds1&2):
1st James Colburn, 64pts; 2nd Ant Whorton-Eales, 50pts; =3rd Josh Files & Jake Giddings, 42pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rds1&2):
1st Finlay Crocker, 64pts; 2nd Graham Field, 53pts; 3rd Simon Belcher, 28pts