Rivett wins Round 4 at Rockingham

Paul Rivett (Banstead) left it late before passing Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) to clinch victory in round four of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Rockingham International circuit on Sunday, 13th April. Just three laps remained when the double former champion took advantage of the slightest of errors from Winrow, winner of rounds two and three. Rivett’s JHR Developments team-mate Richard Cannon (Chesterfield) scored his maiden career podium in third place.

The start of the race, being shown live on ITV4 as part of the channel’s British Touring Car Championship coverage, was overshadowed by an accident involving a heavy impact with the perimeter concrete wall at Turn One. APO Sport’s Alex Osborne (Northampton) and Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Austrian driver Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood) brushed wheels, turning them towards the inside of the circuit and into Team Wood Racing’s Lea Wood (Hereford). He then speared across the circuit collecting Double Six Racing’s Rob Boston (Doncaster), both cars hitting the wall with great force.

The Safety Car was needed in order to recover the cars of Lanik, Wood and Boston, while medics at trackside immediately tended to all three drivers who were given the all-clear. Osborne crawled as far as Deene Hairpin before retiring from the race. After viewing television footage and footage from the new on-board cameras installed in all cars by Renault Sport UK, the Clerk of the Course deemed the accident a racing incident.

When racing resumed on lap seven, the race for the remaining 26 cars was now running to the maximum time of 25 minutes that would allow a total of 14 laps. Winrow led from Rivett with Cannon having passed Coastal Racing’s Carl Bradley (Morecambe) for third. Full Speed Racing’s Glenn Bell (Portadown) had made the best start among the front-runners rising from 12th on the grid to lie fifth.

Bell’s team-mate Chris Panayiotou (Cheshunt) moved into 19th place by passing Team Pyro’s Jeff Smith (Wellingborough), while Amery Motorsport’s David Shepherd (Sandbach) would pass Total Control Racing’s Nick Adcock (Bromyard) and Solutions Racing with Dewsport’s Alex Dew (Bampton) in successive laps.

Fifth-placed Bell was now heading a train of cars as the leading pair opened a two-second gap to Cannon. In midfield, EPS UK with Solutions Racing’s Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) was forced to the outside at Deene Hairpin, losing out to Coastal’s Stephen Tyldsley (Guiseley) and Full Speed’s Phil Glew (Alford).

Lap 11 saw the final retirement of the race when Mardi Gras’ David Dickenson (Keatingstown) clipped Pyro’s Clio Cup debutant Jeff Smith having braked too late for Deene Hairpin, ending his own race and leaving Smith to struggle on with damaged steering.

The following lap saw the crucial move of the race when Rivett gathered momentum through Gracelands to enable him to challenge Winrow. After dummying to the inside at Tarzan hairpin, Rivett switched to the outside and although he ran wide, Winrow opted not to squeeze him out allowing the 2002 and 2004 Clio Cup champion into the lead.

Cannon was now coming under increasing pressure for the final podium place from Bradley and Bell, while Tyldsley and Dew came under pressure at Deene from Glew and TCR’s Jonathan Ridley-Holloway respectively with Glew able to claim 10th place.

As the race entered its final lap, Rivett’s rear bumper began to flap as the wear and tear of racing nose-to-tail with Winrow for the entire race became evident. The experienced Rivett refused to be distracted, taking the chequered flag 0.442s ahead of Winrow with Cannon holding off Bradley and Bell for third place.

Commenting on his race win, Paul Rivett said: “I think it was an error by Ben braking too early for the corner but they’re the chances you have to take advantage of. Qualifying didn’t go too well but our race pace is not a problem. It’s early in the season but I can’t complain with the way things have started for me.”

Second-placed Winrow said: “It was a risky move by Paul in some ways but I didn’t see the need to risk contact at this stage of the season. With me setting the fastest lap Paul only gets two points closer and there’s a long way to go in this championship.”

Third-placed Cannon, celebrating his first-ever podium in only his second season of racing said: “It feels fantastic to get up onto the podium. I’ve been quick in testing here before the rain in qualifying worked against me a bit, but I started well in both races and that’s paid off this afternoon.”

Rounds five and six of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup take place at Donington Park National circuit on 3rd/4th May.

2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup provisional drivers’ standings – round 4

1 Ben Winrow              GBR    Team Pyro                                          124 pts

2 Paul Rivett                GBR    JHR Developments                             117 pts

3 Árón Smith               IRL      Mardi Gras Motorsport                        66 pts

4 Phil Glew                  GBR    Full Speed Racing                               65 pts

5 Carl Bradley             GBR    Coastal Racing                                    58 pts

6 Richard Cannon       GBR    JHR Developments                             51 pts

7 Derek Pierce            GBR    JD Pierce with Robertshaw Racing     51 pts

8 Gavin Pyper             GBR    Mardi Gras Motorsport                        45 pts

9 Mike Robinson         GBR    Total Control Racing                           41 pts

10 Rob Boston            GBR    Double Six Racing                              38 pts

For all the latest ELF Renault Clio Cup Championship news visit the official Renault Sport UK website www.renaultsport.co.uk built by Racecar

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