Stefan Hodgetts emerged from a race-long battle with Josh Files to win Round 15 of the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK, while in the championship battle, an untimely mechanical failure for Paul Rivett means Jack Goff has extended his lead at the top of the standings to fifteen points heading into the final race.
It was Files who started the race from pole position, but a fantastic launch from fellow front-row starter Hodgetts meant it was the KX Akademy member who led the field into the first corner, with Files squeezing into second ahead of Mike Bushell and David Dickenson.
James Colburn ran fifth for the first half a lap, however an off track moment around the GP loop sent the Westbourne Motorsport driver falling to the back of the field. His team-mate Bushell also had an off track moment two laps later; however he was able to recover a slide at Graham Hill Bend to only fall to sixth.
The championship contenders meanwhile had experienced differing fortunes in the opening few laps. While Goff was only able to move forward one place from his starting position into eighth, a fantastic, determined drive from Rivett had seem him pick his way through from twelfth into fourth,
The superb run was to come to an end though, with a snapped throttle cable forcing him to pull off in his Stancombe Vehicle Engineering-prepared Clio on lap four, the former triple champion visibly frustrated at the potentially costly retirement.
With his main title rival on the side of the track, Goff had an opportunity to move forwards and build a big gap at the top of the points, however the Team Pyro driver was unable to make any progress, instead losing ground to James Dixon and Jake Giddings.
As the race drew to a conclusion, the fight for the race win heated up, with Hodgetts out-braking himself at Druids, allowing Files to dive down the inside and snatch the lead on the penultimate lap. A lap later though he made a similar error at Paddock Hill, with Hodgetts forcing his way past to secure himself his third win of the season.
Files crossed the line 0.232s seconds behind for his fourth podium of the season, while a great move near the halfway mark gave Josh Cook third and the Rookie Class win, practically securing him the class title.
Dickenson took fourth ahead of Adam Bonham and Bushell, while Dixon finished seventh on his home circuit. Giddings matched his seasons-best finish in eighth, while Goff struggled to ninth ahead of Lithuanian Ignas Gelzinis. Eleventh overall meanwhile was Masters Cup winner Finlay Crocker.