Paul Rivett and Max Coates did the winning at Brands Hatch. Coates’s win was shown live on ITV4 but it is Rivett who leads the standings heading to Donington (Sat 28/Sun 28 April).
The drivers will first be on track there for their qualifying session on the Saturday ahead of two races – along with the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship – on the Sunday when ITV4 will be broadcasting live once more.
From there the title race will then move on to the fearsome Thruxton circuit in Hampshire (19-20 May) where, in recent official testing, Daniel Rowbottom set the pace with the fastest lap ever recorded there at an average speed of over 103mph…
Before Thruxton, however, comes Donington and a number of the pre-season favourites have work to do if they are to prevent Rivett and Coates from drawing further clear.
WDE Motorsport’s Rivett, who has been racing in the Clio Cup since 2001, said: “Brands Hatch was just about perfect in terms of results with a first and a second place. In fact it’s actually the best start to a season I’ve had in a long time and I’m determined to keep the momentum going at Donington – I really want that fourth title in 2018!
“On saying that, this has to rank as possibly the most competitive season I’ve ever known. The quality of the teams and drivers up and down the grid is incredible and is a credit all involved in the Clio Cup.
“That makes my life that bit harder – I predict we are going to see lots of different winners and other drivers on the podium in 2018 – but proper opposition is what any serious driver relishes.”
Team Pyro driver Coates added: “The only surprise at Brands Hatch was that neither race disappointed from a driver or fan point of view! Race one was an absolute cracker and, although I was a bit disappointed to finish fifth after leading early on, I still had a big smile on my face in parc ferme – it had been a privilege just to be a part of a race like that.
“Mercifully I was out front ahead of all the drama behind in race two and it was good to get the win. I think Donington is going to be even more competitive – particularly as some of the other favourites are already playing catch-up after Brands. It really is that wide open.”
Meanwhile at Brands Hatch, history was made as 17-year-old Jack McCarthy became the youngest driver in championship history to qualify on pole position for a race. There was also a strong debut from ex-BTCC racer Michael Epps and the Matrix Motorsport team – he came away joint third in the standings with WDE’s Lee Pattison.
CLICK HERE for latest championship points.