They said WHAT??? Pundits (try to) pick a winner in 2018

As ever, we’ve asked a select group of media who will be covering the Renault UK Clio Cup’s every twist and turn who their tip for the title is in 2018. As ever, they can barely agree…
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Chris Hartley is up first – he’s the chap you’ll find commentating to the tens of thousands of trackside fans at most of this year’s British Touring Car Championship events.

“Trying to predict the outcome of the Clio Cup is like trying to aim a deflating party balloon; it could go anywhere!

“There’s another quality entry: Coates, Epps, Wilmot, Rowbottom, Colburn, Pattison and, of course, Rivett could easily win. Then you've got impressive youngsters like Dorlin, Burns and McCarthy – a champion in just about everything he's done. See? I've already named half the field. Pass me that balloon!”

On to Richard John Neill – one half of ITV Sport’s excitable commentating double act with Phil Glew. Together they will relay all the Clio Cup action shown during ITV4’s live coverage of events – both on the box and online (ITV.com) – and in the ITV network’s highlights programme Motorsport UK.

Richard says: "The only thing I can say for sure is that it's going to be another fascinating and exciting year.

“Prediction wise, the easy thing to do is think about last year's table and say that Riv’ is the top seeded returning driver and, as a multi champion, he'll win.

“But there were so many close to him in the table last year, plus there are those youngsters gaining more experience and then the likes of Mike Epps coming in as well. Can't wait!"

Glew should be perfectly placed to pick a winner – he’s raced against a number of the current crop and won 2009’s Clio Cup title.

“With three-time Champion Paul Rivett back for another year and the likes of Max Coates and Daniel Rowbottom joining Pyro, this could be one epic title battle!

“Add two more regulars and race winners James Colburn and Lee Pattison into the mix and we must not forget the up and coming youngsters such as Jack McCarthy, James Dorlin and of course the very speedy Bradley Burns – we sure do have an exciting championship ahead!

“After an epic battle between that list of drivers, however, my prediction is that Max Coates will come out on top.”

Meanwhile Stuart Richards, reporting on the title race for the Checkeredflag.co.uk website, has a different opinion...

“I’m backing Mike Epps to be crowned champion because the knowledge gained in his few seasons in the British Touring Car Championship should probably stand him in good stead. I'd also keep an eye out for Dan Zelos; his improvement could see many more podium forays in 2018.

Finally it's over to Autosport and Motorsport News hack Stephen Lickorish who is siding with Glew.

"My money's on Max Coates for the title this year. He's been incredibly fast on occasions over the last two years and moving to Pyro should bring him the consistency he needs.

"But this is Clios so, unlike last year when Mike Bushell ran away with it, expect a close fight with team-mate Dan Rowbottom among his main rivals in a field full of quality. The Pyro youngsters Bradley Burns and Zak Fulk will be ones to watch this year – they've got incredible pace and should be challenging for wins."