Palmer And Harrison Crowned Clio Series Champions With Anglesey Hat-Tricks


Ben Palmer - 2018 Michelin Clio Cup Series - Credit: Neil Lambert
Credit: Neil Lambert

Ben Palmer and Nic Harrison have successfully defended their class titles in the Michelin Clio Cup Series with a weekend to spare after continuing their 100% winning record at Anglesey.

Palmer and Harrison have utterly dominated the Race and Road Series respectively, with treble wins in Wales ensuring both drivers have won thirteen races on the bounce this year.

The Clio Cup Series field tackled two qualifying sessions around the Coastal circuit, with Palmer beating Anton Spires’ lap record on his way to two pole positions as Tyler Lidsey grabbed the other.

Ronan Pearson impressed across the two sessions to qualify in the top four for all three races, with Ben Colburn a great second for race two ahead of Palmer who had to settle for third.

The championship leader would dominate proceedings in the opening encounter as he took a near nine second victory, with Colburn emerged in second from a race-long battle with Simon Freeman.

Sean Thomas took fourth, his best finish yet since stepping up to the Race Series, ahead of Finlay Robinson, Tony Verhulst and Sarah Franklin, a former series regular making her first outing of 2017.

In wet conditions on Sunday, Lidsey led in the early stages as he aimed to bounce back from a ninth place finish in race one, but Palmer kept the pressure on and made his move on lap five.

As the duo entered the Rocket complex side-by-side, it was Colburn who surprisingly emerged ahead as an incident dropped Palmer to second and led to an unfortunate retirement for Lidsey.

Palmer would pounce on the new leader shortly after a safety car period and went on to a three second win, with Colburn taking second ahead of the fast approaching Freeman.

Pearson came back from a retirement in the opening race to take fourth, with Robinson and Verhulst once again rounding out the top six, this time ahead of Thomas and Paul Bell.

The track had dried by the time race three came around and Palmer took full advantage to take a lights-to-flag victory, an eleven second winning margin being a true champions drive.

Colburn ran second throughout for his seventh podium of the campaign, while Freeman fended off Robinson for third, though fourth completed the latter’s best weekend of the year.

In his second weekend in the series, Bell came away with a best finish so far of fifth ahead of Lidsey, Verhulst and Frankliin, with Thomas and Pearson both succumbing to retirement.

Pearson’s second DNF means that he has slipped from second to fourth in the standings, though only eleven points separate Freeman, Colburn and Pearson with two races left.

In the Road class meanwhile, Harrison dominated qualifying with a hat-trick of pole positions and would convert them into a trio of lights-to-flag victories.

A three second victory in the opener confirmed him as champion, with further successes cementing his 100% run, despite him having to run with no ABS in race three.

James Joannou was the best of the rest all weekend, taking a trio of second place finishes to extend his advantage in the battle for second in the standings with Tom Oatley.

Oatley survived a spin to take the final spot on the podium in race one, which he replicated in race two, however a race three retirement gave Richard Guy a maiden top three finish.

The 2018 Michelin Clio Cup Series season comes to a close at Silverstone on October 6/7.