Stefan Hodgetts secured his fourth win of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup, leading home Ant Whorton-Eales for a Scuderia Vittoria one-two in Round 13 at Rockingham.
Hodgetts started the race from pole position, however a great start for Jake Giddings saw him storm around the outside, with fellow quick-starter Ignas Gelzinis also challenging down the inside.
25 into one through Deene didn’t go though, with Giddings getting spat out to the outside as the chaos ensued. Hodgetts emerged from the melee in front, with Gelzinis second ahead of Whorton-Eales, the KX Akademy racer having stormed through from ninth on the grid.
Josh Files moved up to fourth ahead of Devon Modell, while the driver to lose out most was Ronnie Klos. The Scuderia Vittoria ace fell from sixth on the grid to seventeenth, with insult added to injury when he was given a drive through penalty for a jump start.
On track, the action continued on lap four when separate incidents for Mike Bushell and Paul Rivett around the Deene hairpin resulted in both drivers retiring, the latter’s championship aspirations taking a huge blow in the process.
After a short safety car period to allow for the safe removal of their cars, the action resumed on lap six with Gelzinis caught napping. First Whorton-Eales swept past for second, and as the lap progressed Files, Morgan, Modell and Lee Pattison followed through.
As Morgan, Modell and Pattison began a tight battle for fourth, Gelzinis slipped into the clutches of the group behind. James Colburn was next to pass the Lithuanian at Deene on lap ten, with Josh Cook making a move at Chapman.
Ahead, Morgan and Modell were embarking on a fierce duel, the duo switching places multiple times as the race headed towards its conclusion.
There fighting allowed the pack behind to close up, with Colburn mounting a move on Pattison for sixth at Tarzan on lap 13. Both drivers ran wide though, allowing Cook to nip past both for the place, however his brief spell in sixth ended a lap later as he dropped back three places coming out of Deene.
Hodgetts meanwhile was having no such action out in front. Although his team-mate closed on him late on, Hodgetts remained composed to see out his victory. Whorton-Eales took second, while Rivett’s retirement meant Files’ sensible drive to third extended his championship lead to forty points.
Modell capped off a superb drive with fourth, a suitable 23rd birthday present for the Scuderia Vittoria driver. Morgan took fifth, while Colburn just held off Pattison for sixth, the duo having ran side by side for the majority of the penultimate lap.
Cook slipped to eighth at the finish behind Josh Wakefield, while Ash Hand just took ninth at the flag from Gelzinis and Jordan Stilp, the trio being separated by just three tenths of a second at the flag.
Luke Herbert had a torrid debut in the championship meanwhile. An opening lap incident with Graham Field was followed by multiple trips to the pitlane, the Michelin Clio Cup Series race-winner eventually retiring halfway through the race.
*Wakefield was later excluded from the meeting following an incident after race two of the weekend, subsequently losing him his seventh place finish.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/133703cli.pdf