James Colburn has moved up to second in the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup championship standings after a controlled victory in the final race at Oulton Park.
The Westbourne Motorsport ace swept into the lead off the line, and then benefitted as SV Racing team-mates Ant Whorton-Eales and Josh Cook battled behind to edge away for a second win of the season.
Whorton-Eales had started the race from pole position, however a sluggish getaway allowed Colburn to get the jump off the line heading into Old Hall for the first time. The poleman slotted into second, just ahead of his KX Akademy stable-mate Cook.
The front three quickly broke away from the field behind, with championship leader Cook emerging as the quickest of the three. With the narrow Oulton circuit leaving overtaking difficult, and the threat of contact with his team-mate ahead, Cook was begrudgingly left to settle for third.
With Whorton-Eales spending the majority of the race watching Cook in his mirrors, Colburn was able to start edging away at half distance and by the chequered flag he was 1.265 seconds up the road for victory, the first time ever he’s won Clio races on consecutive meetings.
“It was all about the start again, just like at Thruxton,” said Colburn. “I got an immense start to move ahead of Ant [Whorton-Eales], and from there he was always on my tail with Josh [Cook] behind him. We kicked on and built a gap bit by bit, maybe just by a tenth of a second each lap but that’s enough around here, and maintained it to the flag.”
“It was a frustrating race, the car was just so fast,” commented Cook, who’s championship lead now sits at 32 points. “Rule number one is that you don’t hit your team-mate, so I was abiding by that and trying to find any clean way past but I couldn’t as anywhere off line was just so slippy. Frustrating but we’re happy with the points.”
Alex Morgan ran fourth in the early stages, however with problems still hampering his SV Racing Clio, the former championship leader was once again left to produce a defensive drive.
His defences were breached on lap four when a slight tap from Paul Rivett into the Shell Hairpin unsettled his Clio, with Rivett and Jordan Stilp diving past, demoting Morgan to sixth ahead of a battle between Charlie Ladell and Devon Modell.
Rivett’s challenge hit the buffers when first he was awarded a five second penalty for exceeding track limits, and then a slide wide at Island while being challenged by Stilp on lap nine left him spinning across the grass.
This meant 20Ten Racing’s Stilp took fourth, his best result of the season so far, with Masters Cup winner Lee Pattison in fifth. Morgan held on to sixth, while Mike Bushell fought back to seventh after dropping to the tail of the field with gear selection issues on lap one, setting the fastest lap en-route.
Series debutant Ladell took eighth, with Modell slipping to ninth late on, Mark Howard completing the top ten ahead of Craig Milner and Rivett. Ash Hand’s nightmare weekend ended with another retirement meanwhile, this time due to an electrical problem.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/142303cli.pdf
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