Paul Rivett secured his second victory of the weekend by just 0.013s from Josh Files after a fantastic Round Four of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup at Donington Park, one of the most memorable Clio encounters in recent times.
Round Three winner Rivett started the race from pole position and a solid start saw him lead into Redgate for the first time. Storming around the outside of him though was the quick-starting Ant Whorton-Eales, a fantastic getaway seeing him storm up from sixth into the mix for the lead, with the top two making contact at the exit of the first corner and both going sideways.
Both recovered though, with Rivett leading away from Whorton-Eales and Files. James Colburn was another strong starter, getting up from seventh into fourth around the first corner, however his charge was halted when off track moments at the Old Hairpin and then McLeans dropped him to the bottom of the top twenty.
As Rivett found some early breathing room, the action continued behind, with Files finding his way past Whorton-Eales for second at the final chicane. This lost Whorton-Eales momentum, giving Mike Bushell the opportunity to squeeze alongside at Redgate at the start of the next lap.
Whorton-Eales nudged back ahead on the run to the Old Hairpin, but ran wide across the grass on the exit of the corner, hitting Bushell on his return to the circuit. While Whorton-Eales could continue in the top ten, Bushell’s race was over, with Jake Giddings benefitting to slot into third ahead of Alex Morgan.
Ahead of them, the lead was changing hands, with a strong run out of Coppice allowing Files to get alongside heading into the final chicane, with the Pyro driver making the move stick into Redgate at the start of lap five.
As this happened, a mammoth battle was developing for fifth place, with Lee Pattison, Josh Cook, Aaron Williamson, Ash Hand and a recovering Whorton-Eales fighting it out. Cook seized the advantage over his team-mate with a slick move into the final chicane on lap six, but it didn’t last long.
A sideways moment for Cook coming out of Redgate on lap seven bunched the pack up, with Pattison and Whorton-Eales benefitting to squeeze through as they headed down the Craner Curves. At the Old Hairpin, first Pattison ran wide, then Cook got majorly sideways over the grass, the JHR Developments driver just missing the tyre barriers, sliding back onto the track and continuing, albeit outside the top fifteen.
In front of all the madness, Files continued to hold the lead, but he was to come under immense pressure from three-time Clio champion Rivett over the final few laps. Files led into the final lap, however Rivett finally got his chance heading through Coppice.
The Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver nudged his nose down the inside heading into the corner, giving him a run down the inside heading into the final chicane. Files backed out and took a wide berth into the corner, giving him the run coming out the corner, with the two running side-by-side across the line, Rivett taking the win by under two hundredths of a second.
In the fight for third, Morgan seized the position three laps from the finish to take his second podium of the season, with Giddings a frustrated fourth. In the battle for fifth, Whorton-Eales emerged in front, recovering well from his earlier incident with Bushell to finish ahead of Williamson and Masters Class winner Pattison.
Benefitting from all the chaos to fight his way back up to eighth was Colburn, with Josh Wakefield and Rob Smith completing the top ten ahead of James Nutbrown, Devon Modell and a frustrated Cook.
Provisional Renault UK Clio Cup Standings (After Rd. 4):
- Paul Rivett – 114pts
- Alex Morgan – 101pts
- Josh Files – 94pts
- James Colburn – 87pts
- Ant Whorton-Eales – 68pts
- Mike Bushell – 62pts
- Jake Giddings – 60pts
- Josh Cook – 45pts
- Rob Smith – 41pts
- James Nutbrown – 40pts
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/?loc=major&season=2013&series=BTCC&event=races&source=ed_TOCA&eventid=131603&table=131603rc2cli&tabletype=gif