The Renault UK Clio Cup returns this weekend after a five week break and all eyes will be on Snetterton as the runners, riders and title hopefuls all fight to reach the front of the pack.
Snetterton is also going to see the largest Clio Cup grid seen in over fifteen months. Twenty-three cars are expected to race this weekend and this is due to a few new faces and a returning driver.
MRM Racing welcomes 2017 Renault UK Clio Cup Junior champion Jack Young to their team whilst James Colburn’s younger brother Ben Colburn joins the family at Westbourne Motorsport.
Meanwhile Nick Reeve, a former Clio Junior race winner, along with new team Specialized Motorsport are also making their senior Clio Cup début this weekend.
This weekend also sees the return of Nathan Edwards to WDE Motorsport having missed the previous four rounds.
At the head of the championship, the three drivers who have done all the winning in 2018 so far still have practically nothing between them. This championship is hotting up and you have to be pleased that the Snetterton weekend is finally upon us to continue this fascinating battle.
Max Coates heads the field and is currently on a podium streak of six in a row. An emotional couple of podiums at his home circuit Croft placed Max on top of the pile and if momentum is anything to go by, he will be a tough man to beat. However, at the end of the season, drop points are factored in and if the season were to finish now. He wouldn’t win the title.
Paul Rivett would take the title. This could be one of the strongest weekends for the Clio Cup veteran, he’s got the most Clio Cup wins around the current Snetterton 300 configuration and he also holds the race lap record. A continuation of this pace this weekend could see Rivett topping the table when the final flag falls.
Finally in our look at the three main title contenders, we look at James Dorlin. His five race win streak ended three races ago and since then he has only gotten one podium. The Westbourne Motorsport driver retired after just one lap in the second race at Croft. But, he can look at that as a dropped score and focus can now be put back on the consistency that currently makes him the driver with most wins in 2018 so far.
Despite these three running away at the head of the field, there is still a chance for another driver to kickstart a title tilt if things go well this weekend.
Daniel Rowbottom currently lies fourth in the table and has had sporadic podium visits, you feel he may have a chance at somepoint to go for victory. However, you also feel he will have to be on top of his game to beat one of the top three if their dominance continues.
Mr Consistent Michael Epps is still to visit the podium this year and you can sense that something is going to happen sooner rather than later. The Matrix Motorsport driver is running a new livery this weekend and also tested an NGTC MG6 GT during the break so he had chance to gain some knowledge for Snetterton before this weekend. Although not in a Clio, I doubt that’s going to be too much of an influence.
Jack McCarthy, Lee Pattison and Bradley Burns are all incredibly close in the table and some good results here and there could see them jump as high as fourth come the end of the weekend.
Elsewhere on the grid, Jade Edwards finished seventh again at the first race in Yorkshire last time out, this equalled her best ever Clio Cup finish. Her targets will once again be to go one or two spots further up the order.
Dan Zelos scored two fifth positions last time out, he will be hoping to regain the form which gave him his first podiums at the end of last year.
And finally Luke Warr and the B.L.G. squad will be looking to score more points in their first year in the championship. They will probably look forward to a battle with Nick Reeve and the new Specialized Motorsport squad.
Qualifying for the Clio Cup takes place on Saturday at 11:30. Sunday hosts both races with the first taking place at 09:55 and the second at 15:45. Highlights and live action will undoubtedly be shown on ITV4 over the weekend.