Palmer Continues Perfect Clio Cup Series Start At Rockingham

by Simon Paice

Ben Palmer has made it four wins in four races to start the 2018 Michelin Clio Cup Series, courtesy of a pair of victories at Rockingham this past weekend.

Replicating Palmer’s feat in the Road Series meanwhile is Nic Harrison, who secured a victory double of his own to continue a 100% start to the year.

Palmer wouldn’t have everything his own way in qualifying on Saturday, as Ronan Pearson secured a double pole position in only his second outing in the series.

Come the races though, Palmer’s experience would come to the fore as the reigning champion got ahead of lap one of the opener and never looked back.

Pearson followed him throughout though for a maiden podium finish, while Ben Colburn took his first of the year following an early move on Simon Freeman.

It was Colburn who led the way at the start of race two following a lightning start from third on the grid, however Palmer was ahead by the end of lap three.

As he headed off to a 3.3 second victory, Colburn initially lost another spot to Freeman but fought back to complete a podium double for the weekend.

“Four out of four victories is excellent. I didn’t qualify on pole so had to rely on my racecraft to secure those wins. I’m really happy for me and my team,” said Palmer.

Pearson could only covert his pole position into fourth this time, while behind Tyler Lidsey notched up a second fifth place finish of weekend.

John Hamilton bounced back from a race one DNF to take a top six finish, while the ever-improving Finlay Robinson completed a pair of seventh place results.

Sarah Franklin’s return to the series would suffer a frustrating end meanwhile with a gearbox failure, though she had taken an eighth place finish in the opener.

In the Road Series, defending champion Harrison would take a double pole in qualifying and convert that advantage in a pair of victories.

His first wouldn’t come too easily though as he edged out Sean Thomas by just 0.111 seconds at the flag, while race two would be a larger six second success.

Harrison said: “I’m delighted to have won all races this season so far. I hope I can continue to win and compete well as we move to the next rounds.”

The best of the rest in the second race would be Tom Oatley on his first outing of the season, with both he and Thomas sharing second and third place finishes.

Darren Geeraerts meanwhile was a distant fourth in both races, while James Joannou would unfortunately fail to make the finish in either encounter. 

The championship is in action next at Brands Hatch on 12/13 May, with Palmer and Harrison holding twenty-one and twenty-three point championship leads respectively.

The full Rockingham race results can be found here: 

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