Palmer Extends Clio Cup Series Lead With Rockingham Double

by Simon Paice

Ben Palmer has doubled his lead at the top of the Michelin Clio Cup Series championship standings with a double victory during the third meeting of the season at Rockingham.

Following a nine week break since the last outing at Croft in April, Palmer continued his superb run of form in the series as he made it four wins on the bounce in his MRM Clio.

Once again, it would be Palmer versus Anton Spires at the head of the field, with the duo continuing their lockout of the top two positions in every session so far this season.

It was Westbourne’s Spires who set the pace in qualifying, taking a double pole position to make it five out of six so far this year for the former Road Series champion.

Palmer got the best of his adversary in both races however, getting ahead after some side-by-side battling on lap one of the opener before leading to the finish.

Spires was able to mount a spirited defence in race two, fending off multiple challenges from Palmer until he finally got ahead heading into the Brook chicane on lap nine.

As those two fought it out for victory, it was Simon Freeman who completed the podium behind them in both encounters for his first rostrum finishes in the series.

Freeman emerged from a three-way battle with Tyler Lidsey and Ben Colburn for third in the opener, before then fending off a race-long challenge from Lidsey in race two.

Lidsey and Colburn would end the weekend with a fourth and fifth finish apiece, while Nick White and Sarah Franklin completed the Race Series runners in both.

In the Road Series, championship leader Nic Harrison continued his 100% pole position streak in qualifying, but it was series debutant Sean Thomas who came through to both wins.

Thomas was one of three new drivers in the class for the weekend, joining fellow Junior Saloon Car graduate Finlay Robinson and car-racing novice Tom Oatley.

Shanel Drewe held the early Road Series advantage in race one, but Thomas stormed past as the race restarted following a safety car period caused by an off for James Joannou.

As Thomas took victory in his first race in the series, Harrison fought back from losing ground early on to finish second ahead of Drewe and Robinson.

In race two, Harrison led for a large portion of the race until braking problems hindered his pace, allowing Thomas through to victory and Drewe into second.

The weekend’s results mean Palmer has an eight point championship lead over Spires heading into the next rounds at Donington Park on 22/23 July.

Full race results from the weekend can be found here:

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