Perfect weekend for Stilp at Croft with two wins from two

Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup front-runner Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) capped off a perfect weekend at Croft Circuit with his second career victory in round 10 of the season this afternoon, Sunday, 29th June, to catapult himself into the coveted championship top three.

Hot on the heels of an impressive lights-to-flag success during round nine earlier in the day, Stilp delivered a crushing performance in the weekend’s second 12-lap encounter to claim the win by an immense 6.7 seconds – a massive margin by Clio Cup standards.

Getting away from pole position cleanly, the 20Ten Racing driver held the inside line for Clervaux and stormed into a lead of almost two seconds over the opening 2.12-miles alone. More than three seconds clear into lap three, after setting the fastest lap of 1m33.629 seconds (81.70mph), he didn’t put a wheel wrong on his way to a remarkable victory.

“It’s been a great weekend, I couldn’t have asked for more – it’s been absolutely unreal”, said an ecstatic Stilp, who also claimed the Graduate Cup spoils, “I obviously got both poles, winning the first race was unbelievable and then to win the second, well, it’s a massive bonus.

“This race was a fair bit easier than the first one, the stress of wanting to win had gone, and the gap just kept progressing more and more every lap. That gave me confidence to push on and then take it easier over the last few laps.”

While Stilp enjoyed a safe run through the first corner, the race quickly turned into a disaster for fellow front-row starter Josh Cook (Bath) when the championship leader was caught-up in a tangle which also involved Paul Rivett (Banstead) and badly delayed Ash Hand (Nuneaton).

Rivett exited the turn in second ahead of James Colburn (Worthing), the Westbourne Motorsport driver up from fifth on the grid, Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) and Team Pyro team-mates Lee Pattison (Scholes) and Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells).

Colburn applied big pressure to WDE Motorsport driver Rivett and on lap three, following a good run out of Tower Bend, the former managed to usurp the three-time champion for second place with a bold pass around the outside into the Jim Clark Esses.

Rivett, struggling with damaged steering, then came under attack from SV Racing with KX driver Whorton-Eales at the head of a very tightly bunched pack of cars. Colburn, meanwhile, was able to break away and ultimately finished the race four seconds clear of third place.

“I was up for that one, I was wanting at least a podium out of it”, commented Colburn, “I went for a bold move around the outside of the Jim Clark Esses on Mr Rivett, it was brave and there was no contact involved which was great. I’m really pleased to be on the podium.”

Hand, making superb progress after being forced out wide on lap one, was into the top four part way through lap six and he then challenged Rivett for third at the hairpin with a late pass on the brakes to move into the podium placings, the duo trading paintwork.

No sooner had Hand got through into third, he also pulled away and Rivett spent the remainder of the encounter fending off the rest of the pack. Working hard to cling onto fourth, he did so by 0.2 seconds from Whorton-Eales with Pattison sixth, Alex Morgan (Reading) seventh and Charlie Ladell (Felixstowe) eighth.

“After the first race I said I was aiming for the top step of the podium in this one, but I didn’t anticipate being smashed off at the start”, commented Hand, “So from last to third is good, I can’t have asked for much more than that – it’s a really good result for me, two podiums is great.”

Cook battled back from his lap one dramas to break into the top eight on lap five, despite a badly damaged front end, but after running straight on under braking at Tower on the same lap, and then being shown the black and orange flag by officials due to the deranged front bumper, he pitted into retirement at the end of the seventh tour – his first non-score of 2014.

Tower also provided a flashpoint for Bushell when contact involving Westbourne’s Devon Modell (Maidstone) on lap six, while dicing at the tail of the top 10, resulted in damage and an 11th place finish for the Pyro driver while Modell retired.

In the class battles, Stilp and Rivett were the Graduate Cup and Masters Cup winners while Colburn’s second place in the Graduate contest enabled him to leapfrog the unfortunate Cook at the top of the class points table.

Reflecting on his race, Masters Cup winner Rivett said: “I made a good start, I was on the inside for the first corner and just held my line. My steering was like it was in the first race, it was totally out. We’ve been really strong this weekend but in both races we picked up the exact same damage at the start, so it made things very hard work.”

Post-event, Hand was served with a two-point penalty linked to mid-race contact and this also means he will have to take a two place grid drop at the next round. From round nine, meanwhile, Bushell has been elevated into sixth place in the results, from seventh, after Modell was penalised for gaining an unfair advantage when passing his rival.

Competitors from the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup now head into a five week summer break with rounds 11 and 12 of the season taking place at Snetterton 300 Circuit in East Anglia over the weekend 2nd/3rd August.

The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Cook, 237pts; 2nd James Colburn, 222pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 207pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd10):
1st James Colburn, 258pts; 2nd Josh Cook, 253pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 244pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd10):
1st Lee Pattison, 300pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 263pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 200pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd10):
1st SV Racing with KX, 524pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 381pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 350pts