Tag : round-up
Tag : round-up
A 370 mile journey seen us arrive at Thruxton for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup. After the thrilling encounters at Donington Park just two weeks previous, we were keen to see who would come out n top at the fastest circuit on the calendar. At 2.46 miles long with 11 corners and only two braking zones for the Clios, we were surely in for an exciting weekend.
The Renault 5 GT Turbo championship winners prize car had unfortunately not made the journey with up this weekend however, we assure you that it will be with us once again at Oulton Park.
Saturday morning at Thruxton saw us greeted with glorious sunshine! Clio Cup qualifying was scheduled for 11.20 and with no pre-event testing being undertaken by the Clio paddock, it was sure to be a frantic affair. The weather conditions saw the track temperature around 25°C, perfect slick tyre weather for the entire field. With the new car giving off a much larger “tow” than the previous incarnations of the Clio Cup car, team-work was the name of the game once again in qualifying. With times dropping throughout the 30 minute session lap 7 saw Lee Pattison posting a blinding 1.23.060 lap time, a full 0.403s faster than new Team Pyro team-mate Mike Bushell could manage, with a second place time of 1.23.463. James Colburn managed a 3rd place in front of Rob Smith. The grid looked set for Race 1 with an Team Pyro car on Pole and 2nd.
The Clio Cup grid for race 1 is determined by the drivers best time in the 30 minute qualifying session, while the race 2 grid is based on the drivers 2nd best times from qualifying. Mike Bushell had posted the fastest 2nd best time, putting him on provisional pole for race 2, only for the time to be disallowed based on track limits. A visit to the clerk of the course to explain, saw Bushell’s time reinstated to allow Mike to start race 1 from pole position, narrowly infront of Lee Pattison. It looked like Team Pyro could have the upper hand this weekend at Thruxton with a season-best qualifying performance from the team. Points leader, Alex Morgan would start race 1 on P8 and race 2 from P10, proving once again the sheer competitiveness of the Clio Cup grid this year.
Sunday morning brought more of the same weather conditions, dry and sunny, just the way we like it! With the first of the days two Clio Cup races set to kick off the on-track action at 10.40 we couldn’t wait to see the cars line up on the grid. With Lee Pattison lining up on pole position beside Mike Bushell it looked like the cars behind would have a task on their hands to get in–front of the Team Pyro pair. Its quickly lights out time on Round 5 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup, with Mike Bushell managing a blistering start from P2 gets the jump on Pattison with James Colburn following him past unfortunately James couldn’t hold his space in third as SVRacing driver Josh Cook quickly made his way up the field from his 7th place grid spot into third behind Bushell and Pattison.
Meanwhile a fierce battle behind the leading trio saw a coming together between Rivett, Morgan and Whorton-Eales with Alex Morgan becoming the innocent victim and ending up lodged in the barrier at the outside of Goodwood corner. Whorton-Eales also sustained damage in the incident, putting his car off the pace with Ant bringing the car home to a 9th place finish. The saftey car was deployed in order to move Morgan’s car out of the way safely, therefore bunching the pack back up destroying Mike Bushell’s lead. Fortunately Bushell got the jump on the rest of the pack at the restart, all but conforming his first ever Clio Cup race win. As Bushell lead the pack home, Paul Rivett pulled the car to the side and slowed to a crawl on his way over the start finish line at the end of lap 11, leading to a DNF for Paul, possibly caused by the earlier racing incident.
A delighted Mike Bushell had taken his first ever Clio Cup win, and also made him the first non SVRacing driver to lead a championship lap this season! New Pyro team-mate, Lee Pattison managed to bring the car home for a third place finish, his best of the season also, confirming that Team Pyro would be the ones to beat at Thruxton!
Courier Connections girls, Victoria and Sophie were on podium presentation duties this weekend, handing Mike his first place trophy after round 5 of the Renault UK Clio Cup.
To allow for the paddock garages to repair any damage to cars sustained from the first race of the day, the second Courier Connections Clio Cup race was re-scheduled to take place at 16.25 and was shown live on ITV4 before the last of the days BTCC races.
As Mike Bushell lined up on pole position for race 2, he was confident of the potential double victory. However, a poor start let Colburn through into first place followed by Pattison and Cook. It would take a lot for Bushell to fight for a 2nd race win in succession. Colburn looked assured in the lead, and never really looked in danger for the first few laps. Meanwhile the battle was hotting up between Hand, Rivett and the recovering Bushell for the 3rd place spot. This time, Paul Rivett’s experice and class showed through to put the WDE Motorsport car up into 2nd place and chasing Colburn for the lead. We looked set for another new winner in the season, with Pattison dropping back, and Bushell getting back up to third place bringing Josh Cook behind him.
Rivett never gave up and pushed Colburn for the last few laps, a last ditch move by Paul saw both cars running straight through the final chicane, giving James Colburn his first Clio Cup race win of the season and Rivett best finish so far for the new WDE Motorsport team.
As we congratulated our 4th different race winner onto the top step of the podium, the race stewards had decided to issue a 0.5s time penalty to Mike Bushell for ‘gaining an unfair advantage’ therefore moving Josh Cook up to 3rd place in the final classifications and boosting his points haul for the weekend. This, along with a DNF for Alex Morgan in race 1, would secure Cook’s place at the top of the points board as the teams packed up and looked to head home after a long hot weekend.
The points table now looks like this, after rounds 5 and 6 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup at Thruxton, Josh Cook tops the table with 156 points with Mike Bushell trailing on 135 followed by Alex Morgan in 3rd with 127 points.
We look forward to Oulton Park in a month’s time, where we will be back with the Renault 5 and we are certain to be treated to some more excellent racing.
We’ll see you there!
As the dust settles on a frantic weekend of racing, we want to bring you a round-up of the weekend from our perspective, we’ll have the results, pictures, news and everything in-between. This weekend saw the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship along with the support classes that make up the TOCA package. Brands Hatch the venue, as has been tradition to open and close the season, with the first visit of the year to the 1.2mile Indy circuit. Along with the main BTCC races, the TOCA package brings with it a multitude of support races, each providing great entertainment in their own unique way. Our focus was obviously firmly on the newly named Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup series, with this being the first race outing of the new 1.6 litre turbo-charged 4th generation Clio and a grid consisting of some veteran Clio talent, previous champions and some highly tipped youngsters the Clio Cup promised some good racing. We were also excited to see a full grid of Clio’s sporting the Courier Connections title sponsorship.
Leaving on Friday for the 400mile trip to the Kent circuit meant that we missed out on watching the free practice sessions on the Friday, being new to the championship as a title sponsor this was a weekend of firsts for us! We would have liked to have been unveiling the Renault 5 GT Turbo Winner’s Prize this weekend, unfortunately some last minute restoration issues put a stop to that, so a last minute alternative was sourced and we made the journey down.
Late night arrival at Brands Hatch on Friday meant that we would be waiting until Saturday to see any action in the paddock or on track. Parked up in the support paddock made for an excellent view of Paddock Hill bend round towards Druids.
Saturday morning saw Touring Car Free Practice with the qualifying session for the Courier Connections Renault Clio Cup getting underway at 11.20. The qualifying session was the first time we seen the new generation Clio Cup cars run in-anger on track.
The session was frantic with times being close throughout the field, the sun-soaked circuit providing a perfect base to push the new turbo’d cars to the limit. After the checkered flag flew, signalling the end of the 20mintue session, lap times could not have been closer, with the top 11 cars separated by less than 3/4 of a second. It was SVRacing/KX Akademy driver Alex Morgan that came out on top, closely followed by the defending champion Mike Bushell of Team Pyro and championship veteran Paul Rivett in hot pursuit in third for the newly formed WDE Motorsport.
No major mechanical dramas for any of the drivers meant that all focus could move to getting their cars setup exactly as they wished for the first race of the season in the afternoon. The first Clio Cup race of the weekend scheduled for 4.25pm directly after the qualifying for the BTCC. Once Andrew Jordan had put his Pirtek Racing Honda civic on pole position in the Touring Car qualifying it was time to line up the Clios for the first race of the 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup.
The racing gladly did not disappoint, a coming together between Mike Bushell and Paul Rivett on the way through Paddock Hill Bend on lap 1 ended up with Paul facing backwards on the grass. Fortunately no mechanical damage incurred, so the hunt to catch the back of the pack for Paul began. The incident at the first corner let Rob Smith in the Evergreen tyres car through to battle it out for the race win with Morgan. Josh Cook put in a huge performance to hold off the advances of Bushell for the majority of the race to secure third place on the podium. Meanwhile further down the pack, with Rivett at the back it left Lee Pattison to take the Masters Class win in 5th place. Paul Rivett, despite finishing in 11th place showed excellent pace setting the fastest lap of the race with a 53.118s time on lap 4 showing that, despite the lack of seat time in the new car, Rivett would be a force to be reckoned with in
the 2nd of the weekends races, on the Sunday. The close racing displayed all the way down the field, setting us up nicely for the second of the 2 Clio Cup races to take place on the following day.
With the sun shining down on Brands Hatch all day on the Saturday we decided to unload the trailer and display the last minute stand-in car that had made the journey down from
Scotland with us. The second generation Clio was displayed outside the Renault Sport hospitality center, gleaming in the English sunshine but we do promise to have the Renault 5 GT Turbo on display at the next meeting at Donington!
With the on-track business finished for the day, it left us to explore the support paddock, chat with the teams and check out the new generation cars up close. Overall, the consensus seemed to be positive towards the 4th generation of the Clio Cup car, with its new 1.6 turbo providing similar levels of power to the old 2.0 naturally aspirated unit but with a chunk more torque to play with. This years car comes packing a 5-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shift, along with a non-servo assisted braking system with larger Brembo brake calipers. All of this packed into, what we think, is the best looking body style yet! Paul Rivett described the car as a “Real drivers Car”
“I love this new car, they keep getting better and this is the best one yet. It’s a real driver’s car, it’s harder to drive than the last one,” he told TCF.
“To find the edge with it, you have to push more and it’s much more challenging, and therefore much more rewarding as a driver. They respond very well to adjustments, and we haven’t even started fine-tuning the set-up with it yet, and it’s generally a great car.”
So, as the sun rose over Brands Hatch on Sunday morning for what looked set to be another glorious day, we were excited to see the 2nd of the weekends Clio Cup races. Scheduled for 3:30pm, there was the small matter of a couple of British Touring Car races to enjoy first, with a packed grid consisting of 30 cars and 7 previous champions the action did not disappoint, plenty of close racing ensued with Andrew Jordan coming out on top for first 2 rounds of the BTCC.
3:30pm came and it was time fr the 2nd race in the 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clip Cup and it looked set to provide more close racing, and it did not disappoint! With Alex Morgan starting
on pole position again, it was always set to be a close race. Morgan had pressure from Bushnell and Rivett who stayed on his tail the entire race, with Rivett eventually making a move round the outside of Druids to take second place. Morgan put in a fantastic defensive drive while maintaining the pace to stay in first place. Meanwhile Rob Smith all the time looking keen in 4th place until Whorton-Eales eventually found a way past on lap 17. The top four drivers crossing the line with less than 1 second covering all 4, Mike Bushell setting the fastest lap with a 52.895s whilst trying to pull way from Rivett on lap 5.
The second race of the weekend finishing with Alex Morgan taking his second win of the weekend, Paul Rivett taking 2nd and Mike Bushell in 3rd.
So with the second Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup race of the year complete, it was down the the touring cars to round out the weekend with another exciting race. Colin Turkington taking the honors closely follow by Matt Neal and Jason Plato.
The exiting and close racing displayed throughout the main races and the support package this weekend has really wet our appetite for the season to come, its looking too close to call in the Clio Cup at the moment with over half the field realistically having the pace to grab a race win. We would hate to pick a favourite at this early stage. All we can say is that we are truly looking forward to the next meeting at Donington Park on the 19th and 20th of April! On that note, it would be rude of me not to mention our ticket giveaway – we are giving you the chance to grab a pair of tickets to Donington Park to see all the BTCC and Clio Cup action for yourself. To enter just visit our Facebook Competition here.
So as we leave Brands Hatch behind until we visit again to close out the season, the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Championships looks like this:
Alex Morgan leading with 64 points followed by Mike Bushell on 49 and Rob Smith on 48. Its all to play for at this stage! The drivers displayed some excellent racing for us on Saturday and Sunday that we thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to Mike Bushell for the tour round his car on Sunday and to all the drivers who kindly stopped to allow us to grab a couple pictures next to our trailer. With that, I’m away to watch and enjoy the ITV4 coverage of Sundays race and I hope to see you at Donington Park on the 19th and 20th of April.
I shall leave you with some of our favourite pictures from around the paddock at the weekend.
See you at Donington!