Stefan Hodgetts took his second win of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup during an action-packed Round 8 at Oulton Park.
In front of tens of thousands of fans trackside, Hodgetts grabbed the lead on the opening lap and never looked back, taking the win in a race which was shortened by a lap after late incidents brought out the red flag.
After sitting behind championship leader Paul Rivett for the entirety of the weekend’s opening race, Hodgetts was desperate to get ahead of his long-time adversary early in race two. The KX Akademy racer managed to do just that, with a lightning start from fourth on the grid seeing him sweep around the outside through Old Hall into the lead.
Pole-sitter Rivett was briefly demoted to third heading through the corner, but he forced his way past Alex Morgan into second down The Avenue. The three-time Clio champion looked to make a move for the lead at the Island hairpin on lap two, but in doing so left the door open for Morgan to squeeze through to regain second.
The front three remained nose-to-tail up to the introduction of the safety car on lap eight, following an excursion into the barriers at the top of Clay Hill for Ronnie Klos.
A great restart for Hodgetts gave the Scuderia Vittoria driver a small gap at the front, leaving Morgan behind to defend from a gaggle of Clios. The front three wasn’t to change for the remainder of the race though, with the introduction of the red flag on the penultimate lap confirming the win for Hodgetts.
The race was ended after his Scuderia Vittoria team-mate Finlay Crocker was spun into the barriers at the top of Deer Leep, moments after Pyro team-mates James Nutbrown and Ash Hand ended their races in the barriers up Clay Hill.
Behind the podium finishers, a great run for Jake Giddings gave him fourth overall and his first Graduate Cup win of the season, while completing his Masters Cup double for the weekend in fifth was Lee Pattison.
His JHR Developments team-mate Josh Cook was next up, ahead of Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn and Scuderia Vittoria’s Ant Whorton-Eales. Rob Smith just fended off Josh Files for ninth, the latter taking the extra points for fastest lap.
At the halfway stage of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup, Rivett leads the championship standings by 22 points as he chases his fourth Clio title. A frustrating weekend for Files meanwhile has seen him slip to third in the standings behind team-mate Morgan, the rookie continuing a stunning debut season with the podium finish.
Provisional Renault UK Clio Cup Championship Standings (After Rd.8 of 16):
- Paul Rivett – 207pts
- Alex Morgan – 185pts
- Josh Files – 176pts
- James Colburn – 153pts
- Josh Cook – 132pts
- Lee Pattison – 128pts
- Stefan Hodgetts – 127pts
- Jake Giddings – 124pts
- Mike Bushell – 114pts
- Ant Whorton-Eales – 79pts