Croft Challenge Next For Clio Cup Contenders

by Simon Paice

The 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup heads north to Croft this weekend for Rounds Nine and Ten of the season, with Josh Cook the man to beat at the head of the field.

The championship leader is certainly the in-form driver heading to Yorkshire, with seven podium finishes in the first eight races in his SV Racing/KX Akademy Clio giving him a 32 point lead atop the points standings.

The Bristol-based racer took his third win of the season last time out at Croft, and will be confident of maintaining a healthy advantage in the championship heading into the five week summer break.

The man on the move heading into Croft meanwhile is James Colburn. The experienced Clio racer has moved up from sixth to second in the championship standings over the last two meetings, taking a race win apiece at Thruxton and Oulton, and will be aiming to close the gap to Cook this weekend.

Sitting eight points behind Colburn in the standings meanwhile is Mike Bushell, the Team Pyro ace having endured a rollercoaster weekend at Oulton. The 24 year old bounced back from a qualifying crash to take a pair of top six finishes, and is now aiming to add to his three podium finishes so far at Croft.

One driver who’s hoping for a big end to the first half of the season too is Alex Morgan. It started brightly with a double win in the season opener, however ongoing car troubles since has dropped fifty points off team-mate Cook, a deficit he’ll be hoping to reduce in Yorkshire.

Fellow SV/KX racer Ant Whorton-Eales was one of the star drivers at Oulton meanwhile, converting a double pole position into a second podium finish of the season. The next target is a first win of the season at Croft, a circuit he finished on the podium at last year.

Another targeting a first win of the year will be Paul Rivett, the WDE Motorsport driver/team manager having taken two second place finishes so far this year. His new team-mate Charlie Ladell will be aiming to impress too, having taken two solid eighth place finishes on his debut at Oulton.

Jordan Stilp has the podium in his sights at Croft after matching his career-best Clio finish of fourth at Oulton. The 20Ten Racing ace will be buoyed by the fact he showed great pace in Yorkshire twelve months ago when he posted the second fastest time in qualifying.

Aiming to bounce back after nightmare Oulton weekends will be Rob Smith and Ash Hand. Smith was missing from action over the weekend after a huge Friday testing accident, while Hand retired from both races with mechanical problems, and both are potential podium contenders at Croft.

The weekend’s action will kick off with qualifying at 15:05 on Saturday (28th), with both races taking place on Sunday (29th), televised live on ITV4 at 12:42 and 16:19.

Provisional 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup Championship Standings (After Rd.8 of 20):

1. Josh Cook – SV Racing – 215pts *Graduate Cup Leader*
2. James Colburn – Westbourne Motorsport – 183pts
3. Mike Bushell – Team Pyro – 175pts
4. Alex Morgan – SV Racing – 165pts
5. Ant Whorton-Eales – SV Racing – 147pts
6. Lee Pattison – Team Pyro – 140pts *Masters Cup Leader*
7. Jordan Stilp – 20Ten Racing – 139pts
8. Paul Rivett – WDE Motorsport – 129pts
9. Devon Modell – Westbourne Motorsport – 112pts
10. Ash Hand – SV Racing – 97pts

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