Paul Rivett took his first win of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup after a lights to flag victory in Round Three at Donington Park.
The Clio veteran put his pursuit of a fourth title firmly on track with the win, though it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver, with Team Pyro’s Josh Files in hot pursuit throughout the race.
Rivett built a 1.5 second lead after the first two laps, but a succession of fastest laps from Files saw him slowly creep onto Rivett’s rear bumper, though the opportunity didn’t arise for the Vocalink-backed driver to make a move, ensuring Rivett secured the win, with Files taking the Graduate class honours in second.
Mike Bushell grabbed third early on from rookie Alex Morgan and held the place for the remainder of the race to take his second podium of the season, while Round Two winner Morgan continued his hugely impressive start to his Clio career with a third top four finish in three Clio Cup races
Running fifth throughout to secure his best Clio finish to date was series newcomer Jordan Stilp, the Westbourne Motorsport driver holding off his experienced team-mate James Colburn for a large portion of the race. Colburn eventually slipped to a seventh place finish behind another rookie, Pyro’s James Nutbrown.
Colburn had produced a fantastic opening lap, jumping from ninth on the grid into sixth, however this was over-shadowed by an outstanding run from Stefan Hodgetts, the experienced racer working his way through from fourteenth to eighth on the opening tour.
Hodgetts was unable to make any more progress through the field as the race developed though, with the KX Akademy star instead ending up in a race-long battle with series returnee Lee Pattison. Hodgetts eventually took eighth by just 0.270s over Masters class winner Pattison.
Ash Hand completed the top ten after a lonely race, while emerging from a fiercely fought four-way battle to take eleventh was Ant Whorton-Eales, with Josh Cook, Jake Giddings and Aaron Williamson in hot pursuit. Josh Wakefield, Simon Belcher, Jacque Mizzi, Graham Field and Ronnie Klos rounded out the finishers.
The race’s first retirements came on the opening lap, with Rob Smith and Tautvydas Barstys having to end their races after contact at Redgate. They were joined on the retirement list by Devon Modell and Ignas Gelzinis, after the two came to blows coming out of the Old Hairpin on lap four, and Finlay Crocker, who span into the Old Hairpin gravel trap late on.
Full results for the race can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/131603cli.pdf