12/06/2019

History on side of Clio Cup's underdogs as much as favourites at Croft

Win at Croft and you have a good chance of going on to win the Renault UK Clio Cup title. But, as history shows, the circuit also has a reputation for producing a surprise result or two…
  • Allison Croft 2011.jpg
  • Coates 2016.jpg
  • Curley.jpg

Buxton, Fildes, Adam, Onslow-Cole, Newsham, Files, Sutton, Bushell and Rivett…

The one thing all these drivers have in common is that they won at Croft – next up on the 2019 calendar – in the years that they also became Champion.

In addition, of 29 Clio Cup rounds held at Croft since the championship first visited in 2000, drivers have successfully converted pole position into a race victory on 18 occasions.

Four times, as well, there have been famous ‘doubles’ – where the driver has won both races that weekend: Dave Newsham in 2010; Matt Allison in 2011; Jordan Stilp in 2014; Mike Bushell in 2017.

Which brings us on to our list of ‘surprise/first-time/where did that come from?’ winners at Croft…

•    2014: Stilp's victories were his first in the Clio Cup (he would win only once more – later that year at Knockhill)
•    2011: Allison’s wins came more than six years after his only other victory (in 2005)
•    2004: Ian Curley took what would be only his second race win in the championship when he got the drop on Messrs Rivett and Adam into Clervaux
•    2000: future BTCC star Mat Jackson achieved his breakthrough first victory on the championship’s first visit to the circuit
•    2013: Josh Files took the first Clio Cup race win of his career on his way to that year’s title

Perhaps the most famous first-time victory of all, though, is Max Coates's in 2016. Amid emotional scenes, he was crying as he crossed the line in front of his home crowd and still the tears flowed as he climbed from his car for the ITV cameras.

It’s been Coates and Jack Young who’ve done all the winning so far in 2019, but could that be about to change this weekend at a circuit that seems to care little for the form guide…