Mike Robinson claimed his fourth win of the season with a lights-to-flag success at Brands Hatch today (26th July) to extend his lead at the top of the Michelin Clio Cup Series standings to 32 points.
Robinson started Round Seven from pole position around the Indy circuit, with Jeff Smith and his son Brett Smith lining up behind him.
A good start saw Robinson maintain his lead through Paddock Hill for the first time, and with Brett quickly starting to challenge Jeff for second, the leader was able to build a lead of almost a second within the first two laps.
Former BTCC driver Jeff Smith shrugged off the challenge of Brett though, and a couple of fastest laps saw him close onto Robinson’s tail. His lead was cut to 0.2 seconds by lap seven, however a few laps later a huge moment for Brett Smith saw him end up off the circuit at McLaren, with Jeff Smith slowed in the process.
This allowed Total Control Racing’s Robinson to break away by almost two seconds, with Paul Streather slotting into second ahead of Jeff Smith. The latter’s podium challenge ended on lap fourteen though, a moment exiting Paddock Hill Bend leading to substantial contact with the barriers.
With his Team Pyro Clio stranded in the middle of the track, the red flag was brought out to bring the race to a premature end. This ensured Robinson took victory, with privateer Streather setting the fastest lap of the race en-route to a great second.
“I’m really happy with that win, happy to extend the championship lead and stay out of trouble once again,” said Robinson. “I thought the start was always going to be the key, Jeff [Smith] was a little bit slower away and that gave me a gap into Paddock. I thought I might have a bit of pace to get away, but then Jeff started to catch me up – a bit of a tussle started to brew behind me which helped.”
Benefitting from the drama to take third was David Dickenson, the Team Pyro racer’s first podium finish since Round Three at Oulton Park ensuring he maintained second in the championship. Luke Herbert took fourth, moving up well from eighth on the grid, while Ollie Pidgley and Pete Bennett completed the top six.
Brett Smith recovered to finish seventh ahead of Sam Randon, Andy Jordan, Brett Lidsey and Andy Wilkins. Tom Barley was the first of the debutants with a solid drive to twelfth, with fellow newcomer Adam Hatfield the last of the finishers in fourteenth behind Tom Butler.