Preview: Champion Bushell Leads Clio Field Into Brands Hatch Finale


Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

While the destination of the overall title has already been decided in favour of Mike Bushell, there’s still plenty left to fight for in the final rounds of the 2017 Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch this weekend.

Bushell became the first driver since Dave Newsham in 2010 to wrap up the title prior to the finale at Silverstone earlier this month, meaning he heads into the finale solely focused on adding to his impressive haul of ten poles, seven wins and thirteen podiums so far this campaign.

Behind him, there remains a fierce battle over the vice-champion honours with Paul Rivett, Lee Pattison and Max Coates heading into the final two races around the Grand Prix circuit split by just twenty-six points.

Rivett took a fairytale victory in his 200th Clio Cup race at Silverstone to extend his run of winning in every season during which he’s competed in the series, and he heads to Kent with a tremendous record of nine previous victories around the GP configuration.

Pattison meanwhile will be determined to be named vice-champion for a second time to add to 2010, and while he lost ground last time out, there’s no doubt he will fight back as he looks to add to his three victories so far this campaign.

As well as battling for second in the overall standings, those two experienced campaigners are also the contenders for the Masters Cup, with Rivett currently leading his WDE Motorsport team-mate by eighteen points despite Pattison recording two more victories.

The final contender for the vice-champion position is Coates, who has been a consistent presence at the front of the field throughout only his second season in the series and leap into contention with a standout weekend at Rockingham last month.

Coates was last year’s Graduates Cup champion meanwhile and the fight to succeed him looks set to go down to the wire with three drivers in contention, Nathan Harrison holding a fourteen point lead over James Dorlin, while Jack McCarthy is forty points off the summit.

Dorlin is the driver in form heading to Brands having taken a superb second win of the season at Silverstone last time out, while McCarthy recorded his maiden podium finish one weekend prior at Rockingham and Harrison was a double top-three finisher during the mid-season.

Those three all sit towards the bottom of the top ten in the standings, while above them the consistent Daniel Rowbottom is on course for a top five points finish following his fifth podium finish of the season last time out at Silverstone.

Other drivers to watch this weekend include James Colburn, a former race-winner at the circuit in 2013, Bradley Burns who has shown rapid progression since his Rockingham debut, and Lucas Orrock, who heads in off the back of his maiden series pole position and podium finish.

With a competitive entry also featuring impressive top ten finishers Dan Zelos, Sam Osborne, Aaron Thompson, Brett LidseyLuke Reade and Jade Edwards, all of whom will be looking to end their seasons on a high, then the Clios are sure to deliver two must-watch races this weekend.

Full championship standings ahead of the meeting can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2017/173703ptscli.pdf