Luke Herbert and Peter Felix tasted the winners champagne on the second weekend of the new-for-2013 Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre at Croft.
Herbert carried his superb form from the series’ inaugural weekend at Snetterton, when he won both races, into the opening race, taking the victory, before Felix led home Darren Wilson for a 20Ten Racing one-two in the second encounter.
A fantastic display in qualifying had put privateer entrant Andy Jordan on pole position for the opening race, however a great start for fellow front-row starter Herbert put him into the lead heading into Clervaux for the first time.
A terrific getaway for Rob Gaffney launched the former Renault UK Clio Cup racer from fourth into second, with Jordan slotting into third ahead of Felix, though that didn’t last long as a great move at the hairpin saw Felix grab third. Jordan fought back to try and regain the place at the next few laps, however it ended in tears on lap five when contact brought Jordan’s race to a premature end.
At the front, Herbert pulled clear of Gaffney as the race progressed, going on to take the race win by three seconds.
“This weekend the aim was to get better starts,” said Herbert. “So I worked on them and got a great start away from second to the lead and then the win.”
Gaffney found himself getting reeled in meanwhile, with Felix closing to within half a second before slowing a little coming out of the chicane on lap ten, losing him considerable ground. This allowed Gaffney a clear run to second, while Felix nursed his car to the finish to take third.
Wilson had a relatively lonely race to fourth, while Brett Lidsey came out on top of a tight tussle with Ian Jordan for fifth. David Pierce and James Weston were next up, while Jason Tarling took ninth on his debut in the championship.
In the ‘Roadcar’ class, Tommy Ostgaard took a commanding win, with Sam Randon making it a SWB Motorsport one-two ahead of the hard-charging Jake Honour.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race was dominated by Felix, the 43 year old taking pole position by an impressive margin of 0.4 seconds. A good getaway at the start of race two saw him maintain his lead, with team-mate Wilson just holding off Herbert for second.
Over the first three laps, Herbert piled the pressure onto Wilson, but, try as he might, he couldn’t find a way past. On lap four, his challenge ended when a mistake at the chicane saw him hit the tyre stack, forcing retirement.
Their battling allowed Felix to pull clear and while the EPM Technology-backed driver saw his lead closed towards the end, he went on to take victory by 2.2s, with Wilson taking a comfortable second to complete a fantastic one-two for the team.
“I’m very, very pleased, first win and just very happy for 20Ten Racing,” said Felix. “The car was absolutely fantastic, a pleasure to drive. The balance was absolutely superb and that really enabled us to hold our position at the front and just edge away and Darren drove absolutely beautifully.”
A mighty scrap developed for third place between Gaffney and Ian Jordan. The fight came to a head on lap eleven, when contact between the two at the hairpin pitched Jordan into a spin, dropping him down the order.
Unique Autosport’s Gaffney went on to take third, with Lidsey taking fourth ahead of Scuderia Vittoria’s Weston and Tarling, the newcomer securing a great top six finish on his maiden weekend. Ian Jordan recovered to seventh, while namesake Andy Jordan was also forced to mount a recovery drive to eighth after spinning in avoidance of Herbert’s early incident.
Ostgaard completed a ‘Roadcar’ class double in ninth overall, though this time the Norwegian racer was forced to fight for the win, battling through from the back of the field after qualifying problems. Early class leader Randon finished up second, with Honour completing the class podium once again.
The third event of the inaugural Michelin Clio Cup Series with Protyre season, races five and six, will take place at Rockingham on 10th/11th August.