James Dorlin holds a 24 point lead over Brett Lidsey heading into the penultimate meeting of the 2016 Michelin Clio Cup Series campaign, as the championship prepares for its first ever visit to Anglesey this weekend (3/4 September).
Dorlin regained the points lead last time out at Croft, with a sublime double victory against a field that included current BTCC star Josh Cook and Clio Cup ace Rory Collingbourne turning a six point deficit over Lidsey into his current advantage.
The Westbourne Motorsport ace has been the pace-setter across the season so far with seven wins in the eleven races to date, though a tough weekend at Brands Hatch means only 23 points separates him and MRM’s Lidsey at this stage.
The ultra-consistent Lidsey finished each of the opening nine races on the podium and left Brands Hatch in June with the championship lead, but at Croft he lost crucial ground to Dorlin after finishing a lowly tenth after contact.
With dropped scores taken into consideration, Dorlin could wrap up the title this weekend with two races to spare. If he can secure both race wins and fastest laps – a feat he has achieved three times this season – then the championship would be provisionally his regardless of Lidsey’s results.
The other driver on the grid to have taken race victories this season is Sam Randon, who is currently locked in a battle with Luke Pinder over third in the championship – with only ten points splitting them at present after neither driver finished on the podium last time out.
Both drivers have five podium finishes to their name for the campaign; reigning Road Series champion Pinder taking a best of second at Pembrey and Brands Hatch, while Randon took victories on the same weekends.
Those four drivers had a stranglehold on the podium positions in the first three meetings of the season, but in the last couple of weekends Ben Palmer and Tom Barley have secured top three breakthroughs at Brands Hatch and Croft respectively.
Both Palmer and Barley have the potential to get back on the podium this weekend, likewise the ever-improving duo of Ben Colburn and Tyler Lidsey, who have both taken top six finishes this season and are aiming to break new ground in the closing weekends.
One driver who should be mixing it with the established contenders at the front of the field this weekend is former Renault UK Clio Cup title contender James Colburn, who joins the grid for a guest appearance with his family squad Westbourne Motorsport.
In the Road Class meanwhile, the title battle is destined to go down to the Silverstone finale, with Nic Harrison, Jack Fabby and Sarah Franklin all remaining in contention – 42 points separating them with 136 left to fight for in the remaining races.
A run of five victories in six races prior to Croft moved Harrison into the points lead, however a double victory for Fabby last time out has closed the gap at the top – both drivers currently on a run of nine consecutive top three finishes.
Early pace-setter Franklin has been unable to match her adversaries pace in recent meetings and hasn’t finished on the class podium in the last three races, with series newcomer Damian Hirst making an impressive start to his Clio Series career with a trio of thirds.
You can follow the action across the weekend by following @ClioCupSeries and @OfficialBARCHQ on Twitter, and by keeping an eye on The Checkered Flag for all the latest news.