So we arrived at Brands Hatch for the last two rounds of the Air Asia Renault Clio Cup. It has been a strange year in many ways, with a change of management within SRO (our race promoter), different issues along the way with Renault, mainly caused by FRenault leaving, but nothing has detracted from the racing – it has been absolutely first class!
In Friday practice, Stefan Hodgetts was running around the P1 mark all day, eventually settling for P2 but it was looking promising….. Our Scottish One Call Insurance contingent were all busy trying to learn the track ahead of qualifying. It had been raining fairly hard over night and whilst the track had dried considerably for our qualifying, there were some incredibly greasy patches, especially around the Indy circuit. Stefan and Vic Covey Jnr elected to go out on slicks, whilst Ronnie Klos and Finlay Crocker went on full wets. We ended up P2 with Stefan after a fairly close encounter switching tyres, Vic 14th, Finlay 18th and Ronnie 19th.
Race one saw Stefan beat Josh Files off the line and aside from a tap into Druids that relegated us to 2nd for a lap, Hodgetts regained the lead with an amazing launch down the inside into Paddock with the move of the season! Race won, much more like it!! We were delighted.
Finlay had a mega start, moving up to 11th and winning the Masters category, my wish at the previous round had come true! In fairness, the start should have probably been aborted as Ant Whorton-Eales had a problem when moving into position, meaning that the rest of the field couldn’t take their grid spots. Could’ve been fairly dangerous…
Ronnie unfortunately had the worst race of his season, as he struggled to get the car off the line and then had a spin on the opening lap which relegated him to the back of the field. Vic hadn’t driven at Brands in the dry, so for him it was a little like a test session, he would get much faster as the weekend wore on…..
Stefan again nosed ahead of Josh Files away from the line, but it was the fast starting Ant Whorton-Eales that got alongside him into turn one. Ant couldn’t quite hold the position and had slight contact with Files, who then spun off to the inside at Paddock. Stefan came over the line at the end of lap one with a 1.2 second lead over Jack Goff. At this point, Finlay had managed to get up into 8th place, a great achievement. However, unfortunately for Finlay he then encountered a gear selection problem and was restricted for the rest of the race – to make matters worse, he was hit by an extremely ambitious Ignas Gelzinis and into the gravel trap on the last corner of the last lap.
With a safety car out for the unfortunate Josh Files, Mike Bushell had come up to 2nd place and was pushing Hodgetts hard. The next few laps were a perfect advertisement for the Clio Cup, great wheel to wheel combat, super over taking but clean at the same time. Stefan just about hung on to take his second win of the weekend and his 4th in the season, great result!
Vic Covey had an excellent showing, battled hard with Paul Rivett and Jack Goff, plus recording on the ideal lap times – the 4th fastest of anybody! Really good job, and definitely something to build on in 2013. The last mention of race two has to go to Ronnie Klos. After a terrible Saturday, we spent time building his confidence back and with 5 laps to go he was leading the Masters category until a mistake let Simon Belcher through. He finished up 13th and only 3 tenths away from Paul Rivetts fastest lap! That was great for Ronnie, really well deserved.
It was an amazing weekend for SV, three wins with Finlay’s in the Masters. It was a great weekend to win both main races, as drivers have started looking at teams for 2013, what a way to remind people that SV are at the forefront of National motorsport, and in our own words – definitely ahead of our own schedule.
Mentions must go out to Jack Goff for winning the Championship, great job under heavy pressure. Good luck in the BTCC, hope it all works out for you! Thanks to Pauline Platts/Hillon for a super job running the series, even though we give you an hard time, we don’t mean it! Finally to our Clerk of the Course, Peter Roberts, who has a incredibly tough job presiding over such a close Championship but more often than not, made the right decisions at the right time. Hopefully we’ll see you all again next season.
2013 promises to be an even better year for us, hopefully we can expand to two GT3 cars in the British and European GT series, plus build on an extremely successful season in the Clio Cup. We formed great partnerships with One Call Insurance and the KX Akademy this year, both helped us attract drivers and most certainly played a large role in the success we enjoyed.
We have a good testing program planned for drivers wanting to enter the Clio Cup next year, so watch this space and I’ll release details as soon as anything is confirmed.
Thanks for your support this year, we’ve loved every minute!
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Thanks for reading, remember it’s all about #winning! Be good ;)