Following one of the most dramatic meetings in recent Renault UK Clio Cup history at Donington Park last month, the tin-top championship returns to the track this weekend with what is sure to be two more action-packed races around the high-speed Thruxton circuit.
The trip to Leicestershire was filled with incident and controversy, with both races featuring two different race-winners as penalties and exclusions ruled the way, while accidents on track depleted the field and left two drivers ending their races with barrel rolls.
Emerging from the chaos with the championship lead was Mike Bushell, who has a 100% podium record for the season so far and will head to Hampshire this weekend confident of more success, having topped the timesheets during official pre-event testing there last month.
Bushell’s closest challenger in the points at the moment is Max Coates, who lies fourteen points adrift after superbly equalling the best weekend of his Clio Cup career so far at Donington Park with a victory and a second place in his Ciceley Motorsport machine.
Paul Rivett is hot on Coates’ heels having taken the other victory on offer at Donington to make it three podium finishes in the four races so far, and he’ll now be determined to taste success at Thruxton as well, having seen just one of his 47 career Clio victories come at the circuit.
Rivett’s Donington win came following dramatic contact with his WDE team-mate Lee Pattison, who had started the year with three consecutive podium finishes, and will be confident of adding more top three results to his tally at a circuit he’s previously won at in 2010 and 2013.
Another driver in the field with previous Thruxton success is Ash Hand, who dominated proceedings in 2015 with two pole-to-flag victories, whilst after topping qualifying at Donington, Dan Zelos heads to Thruxton with positive memories of a Ginetta Junior win there in 2014.
Zelos is chasing a maiden Clio Cup victory, as are two other exciting young talents in the field, Jack McCarthy and James Dorlin. McCarthy has three top six finishes to his name so far, whilst Dorlin’s stunning racecraft has seen him gain a grid-high 21 places across the opening four races.
Daniel Rowbottom, Nathan Harrison and Sam Osborne will all head to Hampshire looking to add to their first top six finishes of the season from Donington, whilst the ever-improving Myles Collins was not far behind as he carded the first top ten result of his Clio career.
Two drivers to watch this weekend as they bounce back from tougher than expected starts to the campaign are James Colburn, a former three time race-winner at Thruxton, and Paul Streather, a clear race win contender who has only registered one race finish so far this year.
With quick drivers like Shayne Deegan, Aaron Thompson, Lucas Orrock, Ollie Pidgley and Luke Reade all looking to bounce back after getting caught up in the Donington drama as well, we’re on course for two incredibly close-fought races at Thruxton this weekend.
Full championship standings ahead of the meeting can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2017/171503ptscli.pdf