Paul Rivett bounced back from a disappointing late retirement in the opening race of the weekend to take victory in Round Two of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Brands Hatch, the triple Clio champion holding off Jack Goff to win a race that saw a dramatic opening lap claim eight of his rivals.
It was Josh Files who started the race on pole position and a good start saw the Team Pyro man lead the field into Paddock Hill for the first time, followed by Rivett and Adam Bonham. On the start line, bunching in the mid-pack caused Swedish racer Kim Andersson to shoot off into the barriers, with William Davison also going off as he tried to avoid him, causing both cars to retire.
That was just the beginning of the opening lap drama though; as it all kicked off at the exit of Graham Hill Bend. It started with Luke Wright getting a tag in the back from Josh Cook, which sent Wright back into Cook, who got pushed off into the barriers. Wright snapped back across track, hitting Mike Bushell, sending Jake Giddings on his outside off into the tyres at high speed. Bushell's damaged Clio came back across the track and got spun across the front of Nicolas Hamilton and Adam Gould, ending up with Bushell and Gould hitting the barriers.
With six heavily damaged Clio's littering the Cooper Straight, the safety car was immediately deployed to let the huge recovery job to begin. After a great job by the marshals, the race restarted on lap seven, with Files leading Rivett and Bonham, though Bonham lost a place to his Team Pyro team-mate Goff at Druids on the next lap.
Further around lap eight, leader Files got nudged wide at Clearways, with Rivett nipping past into the lead. Goff also got through into second, with Files slotting back in third before instantly going on the defensive to hold back Bonham.
Bonham got a look at Druids on lap nine, but Files shut the door heading down to Graham Hill Bend, however a good run out the corner allowed Bonham alongside and past for third, with Westbourne Motorsport's James Colburn seizing the opportunity to follow through, demoting Files to fifth.
At the front, Goff was putting Rivett under constant pressure at the front, but unable to force a clear gap, the Round One winner stayed behind rather than make a rash move. Behind, the man on the move was Bonham, the second year driver setting consecutive fastest laps as he looked to catch the front two.
As the race started heading towards its conclusion, a number of drivers began to be awarded penalties for exceeding the track limits. Scuderia Vittoria team-mates Ronnie Klos and Finlay Crocker both received 5 second penalties, as did Colburn, Mark Tilbury and Aaron Williamson. Finesse Motorsport's Williamson was a repeat offender though and the former Ginetta ace soon received a drive through penalty for his troubles.
Having no such problems was Rivett and with Goff unable to force a mistake out of him, the experienced Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver crossed the line to take the win, with Goff crossing close behind to take the early championship lead.
Bonham took a strong third for his first ever Clio Cup podium ahead of Files and rookie cup winner Ant Whorton-Eales. James Dixon took sixth for Scuderia Vittoria, while Colburn falling two spots to seventh due to his penalty. Rookie Rob Smith took a great eighth for Total Control Racing, whilst ninth on the road was Williamson, however a 30 second penalty for not doing his drive through penalty dropped him to fifteenth. This promoted Vic Covey to ninth, while taking tenth and the Masters Cup honours with it was Simon Belcher.
Provisional 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK Championship Standings (After Rd. 2):
- Jack Goff – 60 points
- Josh Files – 50 points
- Adam Bonham – 47 points
- James Dixon – 38 points
- Ant Whorton-Eales – 34 points
- Paul Rivett – 32 points
- Aaron Williamson – 31 points
- Luke Wright – 22 points