Dorlin comes close & a big result for a small team
Oulton of course came first so that’s where we’ll start and, after doing the double at both Donington Park and Thruxton, the seemingly invincible James Dorlin became only the third driver in championship history to make it five wins in a row when he took victory in the opening race at the Cheshire circuit (joining Phil Glew and Jonny Adam).
In race two however he was finally defeated, meaning Adam’s record of six consecutive victories set in 2005 remains safe (for now).
Similarly Paul Rivett’s qualifying and race lap records around Oulton’s Island circuit – set in 2008! – remain unbroken and it is widely accepted that the older generation Clio Cup cars of a decade or more ago were able to achieve such pace due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, they were quite a bit lighter (the equivalent almost of three passengers) than the more sophisticated ‘Gen 4’ model currently in use. Secondly, Oulton’s kerbs may not have been quite as savage as nowadays; ditto rules on track limits. Nevertheless, Rivett’s lap times from ten years back are still startling to comprehend!
Meanwhile congratulations to the small BLG Racing team and Luke Warr who, together, scored their first championship points at Oulton with a 13th place in race two.
New record for Coates as Rivett closes on 50th win
On to Croft and there was a new qualifying record this time – Max Coates managing to break Dave Newsham’s 1m34.452s set in 2010 with a mesmerising pole position lap of 1m34.195s (although to be fair the top six were all under the old Newsham mark).
The race record though again stood the test of time with best of the weekend – Rivett’s 1m32.282s – more than half a second away from the 1m31.509s set by Adam in 2004! This again is almost certainly down to the lighter cars back then, little in the way of ‘track limits’ plus, it is understood, a new track surface at the time…
BLG and Warr managed another new personal best at the North Yorkshire circuit, this time with a pair of 16ths in qualifying. In race one, Michael Epps and Jade Edwards also equalled their best results to date with a fourth and a seventh respectively (Epps also matching the highest finish thus far for the Matrix Motorsport team in its maiden season in the category).
Also, get this for consistency as well as proof that Croft’s two races were run at a flat out pace from start to finish: Rivett won race one in a time of 18m41.487s; Coates race two (also 12 laps) in 18m42.389s – a difference of just 0.902s!
Rivett’s victory, incidentally, puts him top of the ‘most wins around Croft’ chart on four having previously been tied on three with Stefan Hodgetts… It was also his 49th career win in the Clio Cup.
Finally, and somewhat remarkably, Croft marked the first podium result of 2018 for Lee Pattison when he crossed the line in third in race two there…