James Dorlin has provisionally claimed the 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup championship following victory in a safety car affected final race at Brands Hatch.
Whilst the Westbourne Motorsport squad and Dorlin celebrate tonight, it’s a shame that hanging over the party is the possibility of the championship being turned on its head due to a decision being made by men in business suits and not race suits.
Whilst we await for this decision to come, all we can do now is toast the action that the ITV4 viewers were treated to in the final race.
Jack Young’s dream pole position turned to nightmare when he retired on the opening lap due to contact. His start was good, however Dorlin from second on the grid had the bit between his teeth and he took the lead at the first corner.
Max Coates did all he could and jumped to fourth by the start of the second lap. He was helped into second when Bradley Burns and Daniel Rowbottom both ran wide at Graham Hill Bend. Burns then pulled into the pits for retirement, a possible hangover from the off-track excursion.
James Dorlin then began to pull away from Coates in second, and if it were to finish as it was. Both Dorlin and Coates were to be on equal points.
However, the race was set to neutralised when Nicolas Hamilton crashed hard at the exit of Sheene Curve to bring out the safety car. Thankfully Hamilton got out of his car unharmed.
Michael Epps had come out of nowhere before the safety car and had worked his way past the chasing Coates. He was now in second and seemed faster than Dorlin in first. The safety car was perfect for the Matrix Motorsport man.
At the restart, Epps began the pursuit for victory and Coates was struggling to get a look-in towards an incredibly crucial win. That was when the second safety car came out due to contact between Ben Colburn and Jack McCarthy. The Team Pyro Clio of McCarthy getting beached in the gravel at Stirlings.
With the race now extended to fifteen laps, all eyes were on whether Coates could get the vital second place. However, contact at Druids on the restart from Daniel Rowbottom behind pushed him down to fifth. It also pushed Epps wide and behind Dan Zelos.
Dorlin ran away ahead again and Rowbottom slipped into second. Coates was helped further when Epps and Zelos made contact before Surtees which also brought Paul Rivett into fourth.
Despite top two wheeled action from Coates in the final few laps in his pursuit to get past Rowbottom, that was where they would all finish and James Dorlin crossed the line for his sixth win of the season and the provisional 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup championship.