Anton Spires has extended his advantage at the top of the ‘Roadcar’ class of the Michelin Clio Cup Series to 78 points with a hard-fought win in Round Seven of the season at Brands Hatch.
With the ‘roadcar’ class enjoying standalone races for only the second time this season, the six car field got the chance to shine out of the shadow of their ‘racecar’ class counterparts.
Westbourne Motorsport’s Spires comfortably took pole position around the Indy circuit by 0,3 seconds, but his advantage was lost off the line as a sluggish start allowed second place qualifier Luke Pinder to surge into the lead.
Former single-seater racer Spires slotted into second ahead of Nic Harrison, however later in the lap a great move from the latter saw him wrestle second from the championship leader.
As Pinder edged away, the next two drivers enjoyed a titanic battle over the next few laps, with Spires eventually getting the upper hand at Paddock Hill Bend on lap six – Harrison’s challenge came to an end soon after with power troubles for his Clio.
Now in clear air, Spires quickly punched in some fastest laps and was onto Pinder’s tail by lap ten. After running nose-to-tail on lap eleven, Spires seized his opportunity at McLaren to grab the advantage. He went on to seal his fifth consecutive win by 1.8 seconds.
“I was a bit annoyed to fall to third at the start, but I kept my cool and found places where I could overtake,” said Spires. “After I passed Nic [Harrison] I didn’t expect to catch Luke [Pinder] as quickly as I did, but the car was really consistent – Westbourne put together a really great car.”
Second place for former rally driver Pinder equalled his best finish of the season so far, while Harrison’s troubles allowed SWB Motorsport’s Jessica Hawkins to grab a podium finish on her first competitive appearance of 2014.
Sarah Franklin held off a challenge from John Creasey to take fourth overall, while Harrison was able to fire his Clio back into his life in the pitlane, but with him finishing two laps down he was a non-classified finisher.