Paul Rivett and Jack Goff have cemented their status as the early championship favourites in the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK, the duo sharing the wins in Rounds Three and Four of the championship at Donington Park.
The opening race on Saturday afternoon saw Rivett start on pole, with Team Pyro's Josh Files alongside him. Equal starts from the front row pairing saw them run side by side into Redgate for the first time, but Rivett held the lead with the inside line.
Files quickly dropped to third at McLeans to team-mate Adam Bonham, before a mistake at Coppice saw him run wide and drop outside the top ten. Another driver suffering on the opening lap was Adam Gould, the rallying graduate getting pushed into the gravel and out of the race by a spinning rival.
Rivett soon broke away as those behind battled for second, with Bonham leading fellow Pyro racers Jack Goff and Kim Andersson, with Ant Whorton-Eales working his way to fifth early on after starting tenth, while a great battle emerged for sixth between Luke Wright and James Colburn.
Rivett was soon caught by Bonham though, but the ex-Ginetta Junior racer was unable to mount a real challenge to the reigning champion, while behind Goff was falling away and coming under immense pressure from a train of cars behind, led by Whorton-Eales who worked his way into fourth on lap ten.
At the front, reigning champion Rivett held off Bonham's advances to take his second win of the season, Bonham picking up the fastest lap on his way to second. A late change for third saw Westbourne Motorsport's Whorton-Eales take the spot and with it the Rookie Cup win, with Goff dropping to fifth behind Wright. Andersson, James Dixon and Josh Cook were next up, whilst Files battled his way back to ninth ahead of William Davison. The Masters Cup win went the way of Finlay Crocker in fourteenth overall.
The second race on Sunday saw Rivett on pole once again, but it was Goff alongside him who led into the first corner, a great start propelling him into the front. Rivett slotted into second, but came under pressure from the quick-starting Andersson, who challenged down the Craner Curves.
At the braking zone for the Old Hairpin, Andersson spun across the track and through the gravel, with Aaron Williamson and Wright both spinning behind, Williamson able to continue after a trip to the pits, but Wright ending his race in the gravel trap.
After a short safety car period to retrieve Wright's car, the race restarted with Rivett looking to challenge Goff, however a small gap left to the inside at Redgate was exploited by Files, the Pyro man muscling his way alongside Rivett. The duo ran side by side until the Old Hairpin, where Rivett ran wide, allowing Bonham and Colburn to nip in front, whilst Files' race was over soon after, with a puncture and suspension damage.
While Goff held a comfortable lead at the front, the action continued at the bottom end of the top ten, a great six car battle emerging for seventh, led by Cook. The man on the move was the recovering Andersson, the Swede getting passed Mike Bushell and Cook on his way into seventh.
At the front, Goff's lead was cut, with Bonham getting on his tail, followed closely by Colburn and Rivett. There was a change for third on lap eleven, a great cutback at Coppice giving Rivett the place.
Goff coped well with the pressure from behind and held off Bonham to take his second win of the season, with Bonham's third podium of the year making it a Team Pyro one-two. Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Rivett took a strong third ahead of Colburn, the result making up for a disappointing race one retirement for the Westbourne man.
Dixon took a lonely fifth, while taking sixth was Whorton-Eales, who overcame a first lap moment to battle back and take the Rookie Cup honours. Andersson set the races fastest lap on his way to seventh ahead of Cook and Bushell, with Vic Covey completing the top ten. Simon Belcher took the Masters Cup trophy in twelfth, followed by Gould, who produced a fantastic race to finish thirteenth after starting 23rd on the grid.
Provisional 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK Championship Standings (After Rd. 4):
1. Jack Goff – 112 points
2. Adam Bonham – 105 points
3. Paul Rivett – 89 points
4. Ant Whorton-Eales – 77 points
5. James Dixon – 74 points
6. Josh Files – 62 points
1. Ant Whorton Eales – 77 points
2. Kim Andersson – 50 points
3. Josh Cook – 39 points
1. Simon Belcher – 24 points
2. Finlay Crocker – 21 points
3. Darren Wilson – 15 points