Lee Pattison fended off a late charge from Josh Files to secure victory in Round Five of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup at Thruxton.
The Clio Cup veteran had stunned his rivals earlier in the day in qualifying, taking his first-ever series pole position on his second weekend back in the series, with Files joining him on the front row.
A great start for Pattison saw him lead into the opening lap, with his initial challenge coming from Stefan Hodgetts, the KX Akademy member making a sensational start from sixth on the grid to move into third, before grabbing second from Jake Giddings at the Complex.
Hodgetts ran second until lap five when contact from Giddings at the chicane sent him off across the grass into the barriers, with the damage from it causing him to retire soon after. The incident promoted Files up into second, the Team Pyro driver fighting back well after slipping to sixth on the opening lap, with his team-mate Alex Morgan also benefiting from their woes to move into third, capping off a superb run from tenth on the grid.
The battling behind had allowed Pattison to build a lead of nearly two seconds, but as soon as Files was set clear, the Vocalink-backed driver began to rapidly close on the leader, by around three tenths of a second a lap.
This didn’t phase Pattison though, the JHR Developments driver bringing the car home for his fourth-career Clio Cup win, with Files once again left to settle for second as he chases a maiden win in the series. Morgan meanwhile continued his fantastic start to the season with his third podium of the season so far.
Joining Morgan in producing a fantastic drive through the field was Paul Rivett, the championship leader scything his way through from an uncharacteristic thirteenth on the grid to take fourth place. Rivett benefitted from some frenetic battling on the edge of the top six, with Josh Cook being in the thick of the action, the JHR Developments man dropping from fourth on the grid to eighth early on, before fighting back to finish fifth.
Giddings recovered from his earlier incident with Hodgetts to complete the top six, with James Colburn ending up as the best of the Westbourne Motorsport contingent in seventh, his team-mates Mike Bushell and Jordan Stilp taking ninth and tenth respectively behind Pyro’s Ash Hand.
Behind eleventh placed James Nutbrown, Rob Smith produced a great drive through from nineteenth on the grid to take twelfth, a result all the more impressive after a heavy excursion at Goodwood in qualifying had left his participation in the race in doubt.
Smith wasn’t the only one who had drama in qualifying though, with Ant Whorton-Eales also a casualty in the session, with the extensive damage caused to his Clio forcing the KX Akademy member to withdraw from the remainder of the weekend.
The full race result can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/131803cli.pdf