“Stressy” first win on Brands Hatch GP circuit for Bushell, maiden podium for Zelos in second

Newly crowned Champion Mike Bushell took victory ahead of Dan Zelos in today’s penultimate round of 2017’s Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch – a race which needed to be restarted after a heavy crash involving four cars at the start.
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The cars of Ciceley Motorsport's Jade Edwards, WDE Motorsport's Sam Osborne, Team Pyro’s Bradley Burns and STR Norwich’s Shawn Taylor were all eliminated on the spot in a pile-up away from the grid.

This was triggered when Burns, starting second on the grid, stalled and was collected from behind by the unsighted Edwards and Osborne as well as Taylor who was also unfortunate to get caught up in the incident…

Despite the sizeable impact all four drivers were unharmed but, given the different levels of damage to their cars, it is not known yet which – if any – will be able to start Sunday’s final round.

Pyro’s Bushell took full advantage of his pole position at the re-start to grab the lead at the first bend as WDE Motorsport’s Zelos snuck by DRM’s Daniel Rowbottom into second. Rowbottom would eventually re-pass Zelos with a spectacular move at Paddock Hill Bend but could not catch Bushell and in fact later received a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits which demoted to seventh in the final order.

Zelos crossed the line in third which became second with Rowbottom’s penalty as PP Motorsport/Westbourne’s James Colburn was similarly elevated from fourth to third in the result.

Bushell said: “That might have looked comfortable but it is probably the most stressy win of my career – I’ve wanted so badly to win on the Brands Hatch GP circuit and every lap seemed felt like a lifetime. There was a lot of heavy breathing going off in the car!”

Zelos’s second place is his first outright podium result in the UK Clio Cup and he said: “I’m elated with this – it’s taken two seasons to get it but this year I’m a totally different driver compared to how I was in my debut season…”

Behind, Ciceley’s Max Coates set a new lap record and finished fifth on the road but, like Rowbottom, also received a track limits penalty and so fell to eighth in the order behind the promoted James Dorlin (Westbourne) and Jack McCarthy (Pyro), Rowbottom and Lucas Orrock (Pyro).

An entertaining four-way scrap for ninth went the way of MRM Racing’s Brett Lidsey ahead of Pyro pair Nathan Harrison and Zak Fulk and WDE’s Lee Pattison who survived an opening lap scare across the grass. Westbourne’s Ben Palmer was next up as WDE’s Luke Reade and Ciceley’s Aaron Thompson – the latter having to serve a drive-through penalty through the pit lane – completed the top 15. WDE’s Paul Rivett was the last classified finisher in 16th following an off on the opening lap and then two pit stops.

Notably Harrison still leads the Graduates Cup for younger drivers heading into Sunday's final round but the gap between him and closest rival Dorlin is now down to just seven points...

Meanwhile Pyro is assured of the Entrants Trophy with a 62-point lead over WDE and a maximum of only 60 available from Sunday's race.

CLICK HERE for full race result.