An intense title race is set to visit a backdrop of rapturous fans as two of the three contenders for overall honours see Croft as their home circuit in the Renault UK Clio Cup.
Having been billed as a North Yorkshire vs South Yorkshire battle. James Dorlin representing the South of the county and Max Coates representing the North, their competitive battle is showing no signs of slowing as the season progresses.
Max was the man to stop the winning streak of Dorlin which had started in the third round at Donington Park and had reached the dizzy heights of five wins in a row. A strong defensive drive by the Team Pyro driver in the second race at Oulton Park lessened the points gap at the top of the table to just four points.
Behind the two duelling Yorkshiremen comes Surrey representative Paul Rivett who will no doubt be competitive once again over the weekend. Still having not won since Brands Hatch, consistent podium finishes see Rivett right in the mix as usual.
A possible repeat of two podium lockouts as seen last time out by the top three drivers will indicate to fans that these drivers are the ones to take it all the way to the last rounds of the season.
Despite this seemingly three horse race, an opportunity for the rest to sweep up victory or a podium finish if the top three come unstuck may be a strong possibility. The championship still contains other Clio Cup race winners who haven’t forgotten to lead despite the fact they haven’t really had the chance to do so in 2018.
Fourth in the standings is Pyro driver Daniel Rowbottom who has scored three podiums so far this year. After missing the last race at Oulton Park due to personal reasons, a strong return to make up for the lack of running will be high on the to-do list.
Jack McCarthy lies fifth and the last driver in the standings with a points figure in triple figures. A relatively disappointing weekend in Cheshire which saw him retire from the first race will be put to the back of the mind as he attempts to reach the podium. He has sprayed the champagne only once so far this season with a second place at Donington Park.
Slowly sneaking up the standings has been Matrix Motorsport driver Michael Epps who has been incredibly consistent by scoring points in every round so far. A first podium or win in the series can’t be too far away with the progress that both the new team and driver have been putting in.
No doubt buoyed by the success of his team-mate so far, James Colburn will once again try and channel the mood of the Westbourne Motorsport camp to try and reach the podium for the first time since round one at Brands Hatch.
A mention must go to the B.L.G. outfit and their driver Luke Warr who started their season at Donington Park and has since scored their first points in the series at Oulton Park. Showing that over time drivers can improve towards fruitful finishes in races.
Finally the funding to get Jade Edwards back on the grid following her roll in round eight has been a success and she will join the grid once again at Croft. To repay all those who donated money to the cause will be high on the agenda and with a best finish of seventh so far this season, a top five finish can’t be too much of a tough task for the MRM Racing driver.
Qualifying for the Clio Cup takes place on Saturday at 11:20 which is then followed by the first race at 16:00. Sunday hosts the second race of the weekend at 13:55 which will be broadcast live on ITV4.