Matt Allison led home Luke Wright in a Scuderia Vittoria one-two in Round Ten of the 2011 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Croft, completing a great weekend in which he picked up two pole positions and two race wins.
Allison started on the front row alongside Team Pyro's Chris Swanwick, with Wright lining up third. The front two got away cleanly, while a strong start for James Colburn from fifth saw him slide into third place ahead of Wright, Jack Goff and Craig Currie. Losing out at the start was Total Control Racing's Nicolas Hamilton, with a clutch failure leaving him stranded on the grid and out of the race.
Allison began to break away, leaving behind a five car train for second behind Swanwick. The group bunched up at the hairpin on lap two, with Goff diving to the outside to try and gain a position, however he was forced wide and lost a place to Pyro team-mate Currie.
The same bunching up occurred at the hairpin on lap three, with Wright this time choosing to make the move around the outside and found it successful, passing Colburn for third. He then moved into second, sliding up the inside of Swanwick at Tower on lap four, with Goff producing an identical move behind to pass Currie for fifth.
Currie lost another place straight away as James Dixon followed Goff through, before getting pushed wide at the hairpin and dropping to the back of the pack. Dixon meanwhile was on a charge through the field after starting tenth on the grid, after he and fellow frontrunners Paul Rivett and Aron Smith endured tough qualifying sessions.
In the fight for third, Westbourne Motorsport's Colburn made the place his on lap five, sliding past Swanwick at Tower, who then lost another place to Goff at Sunny In. This dropped him into the clutches of Dixon, Jake Packun and Smith, however an attempted move by Smith on Packun ended with the Irishman being pushed wide at the hairpin, losing him three places.
On the run to Clervaux at the beginning of lap six, Dixon drew alongside Swanwick, but with the TCR man on the outside, he left himself open to a challenge from Packun, who snuck his nose up the inside and tapped the rear of Dixon, sending him into a spin.
Both Packun and Dixon lost time with the contact, allow Tom Grice into sixth place behind Swanwick. He held the place for only two laps, before Packun dived up the inside at Sunny Out, with Josh Files following through to take seventh. They all gained an extra place soon after when Swanwick pulled into the pits and retired with a broken driveshaft.
There was late drama for the main championship protagonists too, with contact from Files breaking Dixon's steering arm, ending his race on the penultimate lap. Rivett meanwhile was enjoying steady progress through the field after starting sixteenth and was up to eighth on the penultimate lap, but dropped a couple of places on the final tour.
Ahead, Allison cruised home to take a 2.7 second win, with former single seater racer Wright taking his maiden Clio Cup podium and first Graduate Cup win in second. Colburn took his fourth podium of the season in third, ahead of Goff, Packun and Grice. Mark Proctor took the Master Cup win in seventh, with Smith, Darren Wilson and Rivett rounding out the top ten. Currie and Files completed the finishing order.
Allison said: “I'm delighted to get my second win of weekend. I really concentrated on my start as I know from past events that they haven't been the best this year so far. I got off the line reasonably well, looked to the left of me and Swanwick had made an excellent start but as I had the inside line I was able to defend going into the first corner. After the first few laps the car felt great so I knew that I had the pace to keep my position and win the race. To win this second race and have Luke on the podium as well is such a great ending to the weekend.”
Rivett's top ten finish sees him take the championship lead and claim AirAsia's prize of a holiday to Kuala Lumpur. He added: “It's brilliant to get through this chaotic weekend for me and end it as the championship leader to win the AirAsia mid season break. think that Mr Stancombe, Mr Munson and I will certainly enjoy our break. I'm very much ready to go on to Snetterton and attempt to extend my championship lead.”