Three-time Air Asia Renault UK Clio Cup champion Paul Rivett got his pursuit of a fourth title back on track with a double victory in Rounds Nine and Ten in the sunshine at Snetterton as the series returned to action after a lengthy nine-week summer break.
Sunday’s live televised race saw championship leader Jack Goff start from pole, however a great start from Rivett saw him take the lead from second, with Goff losing further ground to Hodgetts into the first corner.
Hodgetts put Rivett under huge pressure in the early laps, making a real challenge for the lead on lap three at Montreal, but Rivett fended him off and with led the remainder of the race to complete his double for the weekend, his third and fourth wins of the season, with Hodgetts taking second for his fourth consecutive podium since joining the series.
Goff ran third for the first few laps, but his Team Pyro team-mate worked his way past on lap four, the duo having a clean battle after making contact in the weekend’s earlier race? Bonham formed a gap and cruised home for his fifth podium of the season, with Goff a frustrated fourth.
Behind, there was a close, action-packed battle for fifth, starting with contact at the Montreal hairpin on lap two between Ant Whorton-Eales, Aaron Williamson, Josh Files and Josh Cook, with Williamson emerging in fifth ahead of Files, Whorton-Eales dropping to an eventual finish of thirteenth and Cook retiring on the spot, a disappointing result after winning the Rookie Cup in Round Nine.
After switching places with Files a couple of times, Williamson held fifth until a lap six, when a mistake at Oggies dropped him back. This gifted local driver Files the position, the Team Pyro driver overcoming slight contact with James Colburn to finish fifth. Colburn eventually retired after late contact with Williamson, the latter recovering to win the Rookie Cup honours in sixth, ahead of James Dixon and Jake Giddings.
Round nine the previous day ran in similar fashion, with Rivett passing pole-sitter Goff on the opening lap before going on to lead the remainder of the race to take victory, picking up his first win since Donington Park in April.
Working his way through to second to secure his first podium of the season was Dixon, while Hodgetts finished third despite a tussle with Goff. The latter dropped to fourth after further contact with team-mate Bonham, who finished far worse off in 21st. Files finished fifth ahead of Rookie Cup winner Cook, with Mike Bushell seventh ahead of Colburn.
Producing a sensational drive from seventeenth on the grid to finish ninth was David Grady, a result made even more remarkable considering qualifying was his first time ever in a Clio. Unfortunately the weekend went downhill for the Team HARD driver, after having to retire from the second race after being hit by Rob Smith. Taking the Masters Cup honours in thirteenth was Simon Belcher, with Finlay Crocker taking the class win in Round Ten.
The double victory for PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Rivett closes Goff’s gap at the top of the championship to just 27 points, which Hodgetts’ fantastic performance in the last two meetings sees him up to eighth in the standings, despite completing six less races than his rivals.
Provisional 2012 AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Championship Standings (After Rd. 10 of 16):
- Jack Goff – 255 points
- Paul Rivett – 228 points
- James Dixon – 192 points
- Josh Files – 188 points
- Adam Bonham – 183 points
- Ant Whorton-Eales – 136 points
- Josh Cook – 132 points
- Stefan Hodgetts – 119 points