Devon Modell and Jamie Clarke gave Scuderia Vittoria a double victory in the inaugural Michelin Clio Cup Series ‘Autumn Cup’ at Rockingham.
The first end-of-season event for the new-for-2013 Michelin Clio Cup Series saw thirteen cars tackle a 20 minute sprint race, followed by a 45 minute ‘enduro’ race around the unique banked circuit in Corby.
One of the few drivers in the field with previous experience racing the third-generation Clio racer was Modell, the 23 year old using his experience racing in the Renault UK Clio Cup to great effect in qualifying, taking pole position by 0.6 seconds.
Modell went on to dominate the day’s opening race, however he did come under pressure heading into Deene hairpin for the first time, running three abreast with team-mates Tommy Ostgaard and Alex Walker.
Once he’d emerged in front after the corner, Modell didn’t come under any more realistic pressure for the remainder of the race, setting a new Clio Series lap record en-route to a seven second victory.
“It was hard to start with, the car was a bit lively with it being cold, but once you get over that it was a nice, easy race,” said Modell.
The battle for the remaining podium positions came down to a three-way scrap between Ostgaard, Walker and fellow debutant Charles Ladell. Walker emerged from Deene on the opening lap in second ahead of Ostgaard, though the latter lost his place later in the lap after a great move at Tarzan by Ladell.
The Westbourne Motorsport driver’s attentions turned to Walker in front, grabbing second at Deene on lap four. As Ladell pulled clear, Walker came under pressure from Ostgaard, a great move at Deene on lap nine giving the Norwegian the place.
As Ladell and Ostgaard went on to complete the podium, Walker’s race unravelled as he twice ran straight on under braking at Deene. This eventually dropped him to eighth at the finish behind Clarke, Brett Lidsey, Graham Field and Andrew Wright.
Modell looked set to make it two wins out of two in the ‘enduro’, leading away from pole position and holding the advantage for the majority of the race. Over the first few laps, he led a close six-car train for the lead, but from the fifth tour onwards he began to pull away.
Eight laps from the end though his charge was halted, with clutch problems forcing him into retirement. This elevated Ostgaard into the lead, but with three laps to run he lost control of his Clio on a patch of oil leaked by a rival.
While a number of cars had difficulties on the slippery surface, Clarke was able to avoid it and slide past for the lead, going on to take the race win by thirteen seconds to cap off a great run from eighth on the grid. Ostgaard was able to recover to second, with Lidsey coming through to complete the podium.
“It’s several years since I’ve raced anything and this is the complete opposite to what I’ve done before. I just went out there and did a 45-minute qualifying session, so to win is fantastic,” said Clarke.
Ladell took fourth, the Westbourne ace having been involved in an incident with Walker earlier in the race, contact that resulted in a non-finish for Walker. Wright was also a non-finisher, leaving Field to complete the racecar field in fifth.
Alongside the battles at the front, there was also two fiercely-contested races in the roadcar class. Lee Linford put aside a near ten year absence from racing to challenge class regular Jake Honour for the victory in the opening race, the duo swapping the position throughout the race.
Linford’s challenge ended when he lost third gear on the last lap, with Honour able to take the win by 1.2 seconds from Henry Surtees Foundation prize driver winner Jacob Stilp. Linford was able to bring his car home third, with car-racing newcomer Jessica Hawkins fourth.
Honour made it two wins out of two in the ‘enduro’, but not without his own dose of gearbox misfortune, as well as the oil leak that caused the drama for Ostgaard and co in front. Despite the troubles, Honour coaxed his car home to win by 5.3 seconds.
Hawkins produced a superb drive to take second in her ‘Chevron Racing with SWB Motorsport’ car, with Stilp competing the class podium.