Michelin Clio Cup Series

Palmer’s Perfect Title Defence Continues At Thruxton

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Ben Palmer - 2018 Michelin Clio Cup Series - Credit: Graham Holbon
Credit: Graham Holbon

Ben Palmer has moved one step cloer to successfully retaining his Michelin Clio Cup Series title after making it eight wins from eight races at Thruxton.

Returning to the calendar after a five year hiatus, the high-speed Hampshire circuit provided a unique challenge for the Clio Cup Series contenders.

With many of them having not raced there before, qualifying would be wide open on Saturday with Simon Freeman leading the way as the only driver in the 1m 25s.

Tyler Lidsey was only a tenth of a second behind however, with Palmer left to settle for third – though on second fastest times it was Palmer who took pole for race two.

Palmer would immediately rise to second on the opening lap of race one and started a thrilling battle with Freeman, which saw them go side-by-side through Church at one stage.

Ahead by the end of lap two, Palmer would briefly lose the lead at the end of lap ten as they crossed the line together, but he fought back to take victory.

Keeping tabs with the top two throughout was Lidsey, who came away with a clear podium finish and went on to be Palmer’s closest challenger in race two.

Palmer was able to break clear though and went on to take victory number eight of the campaign, with Lidsey and Freeman completing double podiums behind.

Ben Colburn took fourth in the opener ahead of Ronan Pearson, who suffered a technical problem in qualifying, which it was positions switched in race two following a great battle.

Finlay Robinson took a pair of sixth place finishes ahead of Tony Verhulst, with Steve Williams hot on the latter’s heels in race one before suffering a retirement in the second encounter.

Of the twelve car field, only four were Road Series contenders, with reigning champion Nic Harrison leading the way once again with Jade Developments.

Harrison was pushed hard by James Joannou in race one, before he just emerged in front from a thrilling battle with Tom Oatley to complete a hard-fought double win.

Joannou and Oatley walked away from the meeting with a second and third place finish apiece, while Darren Geeraerts round out the field.

The championship returns at Snetterton over the weekend of 4/5 August, with series regular Sean Thomas returning to the grid as he makes his graduation to the Race Series.

Full race results from Thruxton can be found here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=BARC/2018/182721cls.pdf

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Simon provides coverage of the support championships for the BTCC, having been a fixture in the TOCA paddock for over six years.
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