Mike Robinson has got one hand on the Michelin Clio Cup Series championship trophy after taking his seventh win of the season to complete a dominant double on the penultimate weekend of the season at Snetterton.
For the second race in succession, pole-sitter Robinson found himself under pressure from fellow front-row starter Brett Smith into Riches for the first time, however once again the Total Control Racing ace nosed ahead to maintain his lead.
Smith meanwhile was elbowed down to fifth at Montreal, with David Dickenson emerging in second ahead of Ant Whorton-Eales and Luke Herbert, however another great battle was left to wait due to an early safety car.
This came to recover two stricken Clios after contact in the pack between Sam Randon, Pete Bennett and Andy Wilkins through Riches on the opening lap resulted in Wilkins and Randon being forced into retirement.
At the restart, Robinson jumped away from his pusuers well, with Dickenson left to defend from the gaggle of Clios behind. Whorton-Eales, who had moved up from sixth on the grid to third before the safety car, snatched second at Agostini, with Herbert following him through to demote Dickenson to fourth.
Robinson managed to pull a lead of over a second as the race reached the halfway point, but now in clear air Whorton-Eales was on a charge and set a new Clio Cup Series lap record for the Snetterton 300 circuit as he closed down the leader.
Unfortunately for the Renault UK Clio Cup front-runner, who was making a one-off appearance in the series, an unfortunate puncture at the high-speed Coram corner on lap eight pitched him off track and out of the race, giving Robinson a clear run to victory and an extended points lead.
“I think we’ve got more than a 50 point cushion now, so that’s really nice to go into the last round with a lead like that – that was the aim today,” said the victor. “As ever, it was crucial to get the start and getting clean away. I did make a small mistake at the second corner and thought I might have blown it for a minute but, thankfully, I managed to hold them off.”
Dickenson benefitted from Whorton-Eales’ troubles to take second, keeping his faint title hopes alive in the process, however he just held off Team Pyro team-mate Smith with less than two tenths of a second separating them at the chequered flag.
Herbert was right in their wheeltracks in fourth, while impressing once more on his debut weekend in the series to take fifth overall was Ben Davis. That came after a great tussle with Ollie Pidgley, who completed the top six.
Brett Lidsey and Andy Jordan were next up, both bouncing back after an incident between them on the warm-up lap had ruled them out of race one, while recovering from his lap one drama to take ninth was Bennett.
Tom Butler rounded out the top ten ahead of newcomers Mark Vella and Alex Reed, while left to nurse his car home to complete the finishers in thirteenth was Paul Streather after he sustained damage on the kerbs during the race.
Robinson’s victory means the former Ginetta Challenge racer holds a 52 point lead over Dickenson headed into the season finale at Croft on September 20/21, meaning just a top six finish and no penalty points on the final weekend will crown him the champion.
Provisional Michelin Clio Cup Series Championship Standings (After Rd.10 of 12):
1. Mike Robinson – Total Control Racing – 282pts
2. David Dickenson – Team Pyro – 230pts
3. Luke Herbert – Westbourne Motorsport – 207pts
4. Paul Streather – Privateer – 193pts
5. Brett Smith – Team Pyro – 151pts
6. Ollie Pidgley – Team Pyro – 131pts
7. Brett Lidsey – 20Ten Racing – 118pts
8. Sam Randon – 20Ten Racing – 117pts
9. Tom Butler – 20Ten Racing – 106pts
10. Andy Jordan – Total Control Racing – 105pts