James Colburn took his first AirAsia Renault Clio Cup victory in Round Fifteen of the 2011 championship at Brands Hatch, with the Westbourne Motorsport driver also securing the championship lead with just one race remaining.
A great start from second on the grid saw Colburn move alongside polesitter and title rival Paul Rivett, with the 18 year old making a superb move around the outside off Paddock Hill to take the lead.
As Colburn led Rivett into Druids for the first time, behind there was plenty of action. Jack Goff saw his 2011 title hopes ended after contact with Luke Wright, both driver's ending up in the gravel, allowing Jake Packun and Aron Smith, championship leader heading into the race, up to third and fourth respectively.
After a short safety car period to remove the cars from the gravel trap, Colburn produced a great restart to pull a small gap from Rivett instantly, while behind, a bold move from Smith saw him dive past Packun for third.
After a poor showing in qualifying, the final title contender James Dixon's day was just getting worse, dropping to eleventh on the opening lap and then struggling to find a way past David Dickenson until lap five.
At the front, the top four were close together, but the positions remained the same till the end. Colburn took the win, with Rivett second. Smith finished in a much needed podium position to stay well in the fight, while Packun took a strong fourth.
Finishing fifth after a superb drive from eleventh on the grid was Scuderia Vittoria's Ant Whorton-Eales, setting the races fastest lap in the process. Team Pyro's Josh Files took sixth, ahead of team-mate Adam Bonham and JHR Developments Rob Boston.
Finishing a seasons-best ninth after a great drive through from thirteenth on the grid was Nicolas Hamilton, just ahead of Total Control Racing team-mate Dixon. Their other team-mate Mark Proctor also had cause for joy, taking the Masters Cup honours in fourteenth overall.
Racewinner Colburn said: “That felt mega, finally a first win in the Clio Cup. It's been a long time coming. We got off the line well against Paul, and when the safety car came out I had to really think about where I could back them up. I managed to pull out a bit, Paul would pull me back, and then I'd get a bit further away from Paul.
“It's so hard to pull out a quick lap round here in this heat, but we coped better than most and we managed to maintain it. Now we go into tomorrow full of confidence. It'll be a lot harder as we start from sixth, which isn't where we want to be, but we'll see what we can do.”
Provisional Championship Standings with 1 Round To Go:
- James Colburn – 326 points
- Aron Smith – 323 points
- Paul Rivett – 322 points
- James Dixon – 306 points
- Jack Goff – 272 points