Croft Masterclass Earns Dorlin Back The Clio Series Points Lead

by Simon Paice

A combination of a dominant race win for James Dorlin and early trouble for Brett Lidsey has seen the 2016 Michelin Clio Cup Series points lead change hands between the two after race one at Croft.

Dorlin was in supreme form in the North Yorkshire opener, impressively storming clear of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship front-runner Josh Cook en-route to a thirteen second victory.

That came despite first corner contact from Lidsey which led to front end damage for the latter, before a puncture on lap two forced him to make a visit to the pits in his MRM Clio, dropping him off the lead lap.

With his chief title rival right at the back of the field, Dorlin had to maximise the opportunity to regain the points lead he lost last time out at Brands Hatch and he quickly started streaking clear to a sixth win of the year.

Former Renault UK Clio Cup vice-champion Cook had no answer for Dorlin’s pace on his one-off return to the series, but enjoyed a comfortable run to second position at the flag with the returning 20Ten Racing squad.

Behind, an impressive start for another guest driver Rory Collingbourne had seen him climb from eighth on the grid to third within two laps, however a mechanical failure soon after ended the Clio Cup man’s race.

Luke Pinder assumed the position and would hold it on the road throughout the remaining laps, however a five second penalty for exceeding track limits would ultimately cost him a sixth podium of the season.

The man to benefit was Tom Barley, who edged clear of a battling trio of cars behind to get close enough to Pinder to seize upon the penalty and earn himself a maiden Clio Series podium.

Sam Randon ran as high as fourth early on before losing ground whilst battling with Pinder, but he fought back well to take fifth ahead of Ben Palmer and Ben Colburn, the latter having started in third but fell back early on.

Lidsey eventually recovered to tenth overall behind his brother Tyler Lidsey and series returnee Mark Vella, with the title contender having picked his way past the Road Series contenders over the second half of the race.

Remarkably, all four drivers in the Road class were penalised for exceeding track limits, meaning their five second penalties cancelled each other out, with Jack Fabby emerging with his third win of the year – Nic Harrison and Damian Hirst completing the class podium ahead of Sarah Franklin.

Full race results can be found here.

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