07/09/2018

High speed Silverstone marks final chance for ‘last eight’ in unpredictable title battle

The 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup enters its dramatic ‘last chance saloon’ stages at the high speed Silverstone circuit in just over a week (Sat 15/Sun 16 Sept) with the eight drivers still in with a chance of the crown all hoping to keep their title hopes alive for the season finale at Brands Hatch a fortnight later.
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As ever the Clio Cup will be appearing alongside the headlining British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone. A bumper trackside crowd is anticipated for the event at the world famous Northamptonshire circuit while the action will also be broadcast live on the Sunday by ITV4.

The maths are simple: any driver within 56 points of whoever is leading the Clio Cup leaving Silverstone on the Sunday evening will still be in the running when they get to Brands at the end of the month (Sat 29/Sun 30 Sept).

Currently ahead is Team Pyro’s Max Coates but his advantage over WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett in second is slender – just seven points, with a maximum of 56 on offer from Silverstone’s penultimate two rounds.

Significantly, Rivett, already a three-time Champion, is chasing a remarkable 50th race victory in the Clio Cup (last year at Silverstone he pipped new champ Mike Bushell to win on his 200th outing)…

Westbourne Motorsport’s James Dorlin in third is 30 points adrift of Coates but beyond that everyone else is outside the cut-off point (see latest points).

They have much to do if they are to not be eliminated at Silverstone, although unpredictable events lately suggest that two highly memorable races are in store – even by Clio Cup standards. Particularly when one throws in the added pressure of trying to win Europe’s most competitive single-make saloon car championship in front of the BTCC’s team bosses.

“To rule anyone out – regardless of how slim their chances are – would be foolish,” says Coates. “It’s as unpredictable as the BTCC title race – you really don’t know what’s going to happen next,” adds Dorlin (CLICK HERE for the latest Clio Cup news).

Indeed, none of the current top three was a winner in the most recent rounds at Rockingham – the victories instead going to the drivers currently fourth and fifth in the table: DRM’s Daniel Rowbottom and Pyro’s Jack McCarthy.

Sixth and seventh, Matrix Motorsport’s Michael Epps and Pyro’s Bradley Burns – the 17-year-old protégé of BMR’s reigning BTCC champ Ashley Sutton and the Silverstone lap record holder – have also shown race winning potential in recent events. Undoubtedly they and WDE’s experienced Lee Pattison, the ‘last man standing’ in a distance eighth, have the pace to make it six or maybe even seven different winners so far in 2018...

As, in fact, do many more from the Clio Cup’s stellar Silverstone entry list which also includes: Westbourne’s James Colburn and Ben Colburn; WDE’s Dan Zelos, Sam Osborne and Nic Hamilton; MRM’s Jade Edwards, Brett Lidsey and Jack Young; Specialized Motorsport’s Nick Reeve; BLG Racing’s Luke Warr; Matrix’s Aaron Thompson, Andy Wilmot and Jeff Alden.

When to watch?
The Clio Cup drivers will first be on track at Silverstone on Friday 14 September for two free practice sessions which will enable them to fine-tune their cars to the short National circuit configuration being used. On Saturday the all-important half-hour qualifying session takes place 11:25-11:55 with the first of the weekend’s two races (round 15 of the season) following later that afternoon at 16:30. Race two (round 16 of the 18-round calendar) is then on the Sunday at 13:50 and will be shown live on ITV4.