Alex Morgan made it a double victory on the opening weekend of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup after a fantastic race-long battle with Paul Rivett and Mike Bushell.
The trio ran nose-to-tail for the majority of the twenty lap encounter at Brands Hatch, and despite his rivals best efforts, Morgan was able to hold them off for his third career Clio Cup win.
It proved to be a largely uneventful start to the race as the thirteen fourth-generation Clios headed off the line for the second time this weekend.
Morgan retained his lead from Bushell, Rivett and Rob Smith, the top four quickly breaking away from Josh Cook in fifth.
Cook had to defend his place hard in the early stages, with Ant Whorton-Eales, James Colburn and Devon Modell on his tail, Lee Pattison having been with them before an off track moment at Clearways on lap one.
His defence of fifth lasted until the end of lap four, when a robust move from SV Racing team-mate Whorton-Eales got the latter alongside. He went on to make the move stick at Paddock, with Colburn and Modell following through to drop Cook to eighth.
At the front, Morgan, Bushell and Rivett started an incredible run of laps in which they ran nose-to-tail throughout. Smith and Whorton-Eales briefly latched onto their tail, before a battle between themselves allowed the front three some space.
After over ten laps of nose-to-tail action with no challenges, it was Rivett who finally made a move, a great pass around the outside at Druids on lap eighteen giving him second from Bushell.
Despite his best efforts over the two remaining laps, Rivett was left to settle for second, with Morgan taking a hard-fought second win of the weekend. Second comfortably secured Rivett the Masters Cup honours, while Bushell finished just half a second shy of the winner in third.
“This has really been a fantastic weekend,” an elated Morgan told TCF. “To start the season with two poles and two wins is brilliant, I couldn’t have wished for more.
“I thought after a couple of laps that I was going to break the tow and get away, but unfortunately the tow of these cars are massive and every time I got on the pit straight they closed on me. It was a difficult race, I wasn’t able to show our true pace, but I’m delighted with the result.”
Whorton-Eales passed Smith two laps from the end at Clearways to take a hard-earned fourth, and with it the Graduate Cup win, with Smith leading home Westbourne Motorsport pairing Colburn and Modell.
A frustrating race for Cook saw him finish up eighth, while Pattison recovered from his early moment to take ninth ahead of Jordan Stilp.
Ash Hand finished eleventh in the final classifications after receiving a five second penalty for exceeding track limits, with Masters Cup runners Mark Howard and Craig Milner completing the finishers.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/141303cli.pdf
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Standings (After Round 2 of 20):
1. Alex Morgan – SV Racing – 64pts
2. Mike Bushell – Team Pyro – 49pts
3. Rob Smith – Team Pyro – 48pts
4. Paul Rivett – WDE Motorsport – 40pts
5. Josh Cook – SV Racing – 39pts
6. James Colburn – Westbourne Motorsport – 36pts
7. Ant Whorton-Eales – SV Racing – 33pts
8. Lee Pattison – JHR Developments – 32pts