Rivett cruises to race one win at Croft as Coates takes best-ever second

Paul Rivett took a lights-to-flag victory in the Renault UK Clio Cup’s first race of the weekend at Croft Circuit ahead of a jubilant Max Coates in a career-best second and Mike Bushell in third.
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4Front Motor Group with WDE’s Motorsport’s Rivett utterly dominated the race. He maintained his pole position advantage to lead into the first corner and then took full advantage of the Bushell-Coates scrap behind him to move clear and win by more than three seconds.

Ciceley’s Coates capitalised as others were delayed by the inevitable concertina effect through the opening corners to leap from seventh to third before then setting about closing in on Pyro’s Bushell for second. After numerous attempts to get by he finally made a move stick exiting the high-speed Jim Clark Esses to make the position his, although Bushell kept him on his toes in the closing laps.

Next up came championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales. He was effectively gifted fourth place by WDE’s Charles Ladell who spun away the position mid-race at the Sunny In corner and then retired with resulting damage to his car.

Team Ecomotive with Finesse Motorport’s Daniel Rowbottom and team-mate Paul Streather completed the top six – the latter impressively up from 14th on the grid.

The result means that Whorton-Eales continues to lead the standings by a slightly diminished margin from Bushell and then Rivett heading into tomorrow’s second race – to be shown live on ITV4.

Rivett commented: “It was the perfect race, really. Mike didn’t seem to have our pace and when I saw him and Max battling in my mirrors I stepped on it and built a lead. The second half of the race I could just cruise to the line – the car felt perfect.”

Coates said: “Not bad, eh? Third at Oulton and now a second on my home circuit – and I’m sure if I’d been with Rivett from early on we had the pace to take the fight to him. I’m delighted and really looking forward to tomorrow’s race when I start higher up the grid.”

Bushell added: “I’ve got to hand it to Max – that was the drive of a Champion and he deserved the second place. For some reason my car didn’t quite have the pace in that race and we suffered with a lot of understeer; something we need to look at for tomorrow.”

Behind the top six, Team BMR with Pyro’s Senna Proctor crossed the line in seventh ahead of team-mate David Dickenson – disappointed having started from second on the grid – and Cooksport’s George Jackson who, like Streather, also put in a great comeback drive from 18th on the grid to finish ninth. Tenth was Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne who was lucky to survive a wild spin on the run to the finish line when his and Proctor’s cars made contact.

Cooksport’s Lee Pattison recovered to take 11th – along with the race’s fastest lap – after spinning out of a potential third place on the opening lap following contact. JamSport’s Luke Kidsley, Ciceley’s Ollie Pidgley, PP Motorsport’s Anton Spires and WDE’s Rory Green – also in the wars – completed the 15 finishers.

Meanwhile joining Ladell in retirement were Pyro’s Josh Price who had started from sixth and Ciceley’s Dan Zelos.

CLICK HERE for provisional race result.