The 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup makes its return to the BTCC support package this weekend for its penultimate meeting of the season, marking the latest chapter in a thrilling championship battle between Josh Files and Paul Rivett.
Files sits at the top of the points standings with four races remaining, the Team Pyro ace having edged in front with a win apiece in the last two meetings at Snetterton and Croft, his first victories in his three years in the championship.
“Once again we’ll be gunning for race wins or podium finishes at Rockingham to bolster my lead,” said Files. “When you look at how many points are up for grabs and consider that my 13-point lead is reduced to just six when you apply the single ‘drop score’ ruling, there’s still a long way to go.”
Thirteen points adrift of the Norfolk-based racer is three-time champion Rivett. The Clio Cup stalwart took his fourth win of the campaign in Norfolk six weeks ago, and having taking a double victory at Rockingham twelve months ago, the Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver will be hoping to add to that tally this weekend.
The man in form heading into the weekend is Stefan Hodgetts, the KX Akademy member having finished in the top two in six of the last seven races. While a championship challenge may be just out of reach for the Scuderia Vittoria racer, Hodgetts will certainly be in the mix for the race wins in Northamptonshire.
Joining those three in the fight at the front is sure to be Alex Morgan and James Colburn, both drivers still chasing their second race wins of the season after sharing the wins on the opening weekend. JHR Developments team-mates Josh Cook and Lee Pattison will also be in the mix, with Cook looking to replicate the strong finish to the season he produced in 2012.
Fresh from his BTCC debut three weeks ago at Knockhill, Mike Bushell returns to Clio Cup action this weekend with his family-run MBR outfit, and he will be hoping to take his first podium finish since Donington Park in April. Targeting his first podium finish of the season meanwhile is the ever-improving Ash Hand, the Team Pyro racer having taken a seasons-best fifth at Snetterton.
Looking to impress over the weekend meanwhile will be Luke Herbert. The Michelin Clio Cup Series front-runner is making a long-awaited debut in the championship and after winning twice in the Clio Series at the venue last month, Herbert will be hoping for some strong results as he targets a full-time entry into the series in 2014.
Fellow Clio Cup Series race-winner Peter Felix is joining the action for his first Clio Cup UK appearance since 2008 with 20Ten Racing, the two additions making it an expected grid of 26 for the weekend.
Qualifying for Rounds 13 and 14 takes place at 10:50 on Saturday (14th), with the opening race at 16:20. Race two is on Sunday (15th) at 14:40.