With just six races remaining in the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup, things could hardly be tighter at the top of the championship with a mere three points splitting new series leader Josh Files (Norwich, above) and Paul Rivett (Banstead) ahead of rounds 11 and 12 at Snetterton next weekend, 3rd/4th August.
Team Pyro driver Files, who leapt ahead of three-time champion Rivett in the title race during the previous event at Croft in North Yorkshire five weeks ago, will arrive at his ‘home’ track aiming to further increase his advantage and will be on the crest of a wave after claiming his first ever win in the championship last time out.
While the bulk of competitors from the 24-strong entry have been taking the opportunity to rest and recharge their batteries during the break, Files has been in action in the Eurocup Clio series at the wheel of one of the new fourth generation Clio Cup race cars which will debut in the UK in 2014.
At the Red Bull Ring in Austria last weekend, 20th/21st July, the East Anglian racer secured his fourth podium of the Eurocup season and rounded out the third event of the campaign in second place in the standings. Off the back of another excellent performance there, and with his Renault UK Clio Cup victory at Croft still fresh in his mind, Files carries huge confidence into his home event.
Rivett, though, will be more determined than ever to try and reclaim the championship lead after a very trying weekend at Croft a puncture on the opening lap of the weekend’s second race proving costly. Having claimed a double victory at Snetterton last year though on the 300 Circuit layout, the Names.co.uk/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver will be striving for a repeat.
Third in the championship ahead of the sixth race meeting of the season is Alex Morgan (Reading), one of the stand-out performers so far in 2013. Chalking up a maiden Clio Cup win during the first weekend of the season, his debut event in a front-wheel drive saloon car, the former single-seater racer has since claimed three other podiums and is only 20 points shy of team-mate Files.
Westbourne Motorsport’s round one winner James Colburn (Worthing) is still clinging to a top four placing in the standings, but is under threat from the advancing Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch). Taking his third win during round 10 at Croft, extending his run of top-two finishes to five, the KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria racer is now tied with Colburn the pair 28 points adrift of the top three.
Rounding out the top six is JHR Developments’ Lee Pattison (Liversedge) who, despite missing the first two races of the season, is within 45 points of the coveted top three and already has one win to his credit. Team-mate Josh Cook (Bristol) is snapping at his heels though, only three points behind.
While Files will garner much local support next weekend, another driver counting Snetterton as his ‘home’ event is Finesse Motorsport’s Jake Giddings (Wisbech) who goes into the weekend eighth in the main championship standings.
In the Graduate Cup class for younger competitors Files again leads the way while, in the Masters Cup competition, Handy Motorsport with Pyro’s Simon Belcher (Swindon) holds a 15-point advantage over Graham Field (Southwell, Nottinghamshire). In the WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy title battle, Leicestershire-based Team Pyro has an 81-point cushion over Scuderia Vittoria.
Pre-event testing will take place on Friday, 2nd August, with qualifying and round 11 following on Saturday, 3rd August, at 11.20 and 16.40 respectively. On Sunday, 4th August, round 12 is scheduled to get underway at 11.10 with ‘as-live’ television coverage set to be screened during the afternoon on ITV4 and ITV4 HD please check listings for further details.
Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Files, 235pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 232pts; 3rd Alex Morgan, 215pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd10):
1st Team Pyro, 452pts; 2nd Scuderia Vittoria, 371pts; 3rd JHR Developments, 335pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Files, 273pts; 2nd James Colburn, 248pts; 3rd Josh Cook, 215pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd10):
1st Simon Belcher, 251pts; 2nd Graham Field, 236pts; 3rd Finlay Crocker, 195pts
Official website: www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup
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Photos courtesy & copyright Jakob Ebrey Photography