Winrow Continues Podium Run

With Round Six Win

Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) scored his fourth win from six races in round six of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Donington Park on Sunday, 4th May. The Team Pyro racer, who also has two second place finishes to his name, finished almost 3.5s clear of Total Control Racing’s Mike Robinson (Effingham), making his first appearance on the Clio Cup podium. Mardi Gras Motorsport’s Gavin Pyper (Fleckney) made up for a disappointing non-finish in round five with a fine third place.

After a dead-heat in qualifying put Winrow and J&D Pierce with Robertshaw Racing’s Derek Pierce (West Kilbride) on the front row, the lead duo and Pyper made a clean start to break clear of TCR’s Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) in the early stages. Two incidents, at Old Hairpin and Goddards’ chicane, saw Mark Hazell (Llanhennock) and Jonathan Ridley-Holloway (Barnstaple) retire from the race.

Lying in second place, Pierce locked his brakes on lap two at Redgate as he came under pressure from Pyper. Just behind, Gaffney, who celebrated his first Clio Cup podium on Saturday, had to defend from the determined Lee Pattison (Liversedge) in his P9 Race Shop/Range Storage car, while Mardi Gras’ David Dickenson (Keatingstown) passed Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Austrian driver Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood).

As Winrow’s lead reached 2.2s on lap three, the Safety Car was deployed to recover the stricken car of Ridley-Holloway. Pierce suffered an engine-related problem that ended his race on the back straight, while Valtra with FSR’s Peter Felix (Allestree) clipped the rear of Jonathan Shepherd (Sandbach), earning him a three-point endorsement on his racing licence.

At the restart on lap six, Winrow edged away from Pyper as MacDowall ran wide in third place. Gaffney was immediately on the pace setting the fastest lap to that point of the race, while Pyro’s Chris Law (Guernsey) spun after a tap from Coastal Racing’s Stephen Tyldsley (Guiseley) that allowed TCR’s Ray MacDowall (Carlisle) to close up.

In the chasing pack behind the impressive Winrow, Robinson and Coastal’s Carl Bradley (Morecambe) were racing hard for fourth place, while Alex MacDowall passed Pyper on lap nine for second to head a train of nine cars running nose-to-tail. Pyper lost a further place to Robinson at Redgate, while Full Speed Racing’s Glenn Bell (Portadown) failed in a similar passing move on EPS UK with Robertshaw Racing’s Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey). At the end of the lap, Ray MacDowall and Tyldsley both pitted after an incident at Redgate that saw Tyldsley penalised three points by the Clerk of the Course.

Having risen to second place, MacDowall’s time at the head of that group was short-lived as he out-braked himself at Goddards’ chicane on lap 12, gifting the place to Robinson with Pyper following through in third. In midfield, Mardi Gras Motorsport’s Árón Smith (Rathfarnham) made the most of a clear track to catch ninth-placed Pattison and pass him through the Craner Curves before also slipping past MacDowall at McLeans.

On the following lap it was Full Speed’s Phil Glew (Alford) who misjudged the chicane, allowing Gaffney up into fifth. Glew then had a close finish with team-mate Bell, but was just able to hold on in sixth with the Irishman taking seventh. The penultimate lap saw Pyper set the THB Clowes fastest lap of the race at 1min 19.641s (88.47mph) to close on Robinson but it was not enough to steal second place.

Out in front, Winrow was peerless and showed great consistency to complete 10 of the 11 racing laps within half a second of each other, the exception being his personal best on lap 15. Commenting on the race, Winrow said: “Being on pole I got a clean start and managed to edge in front of Derek going into Redgate, gaining a good few lengths before the Safety Car bunched us all up again. At the restart, I was able to put the pressure on again and after that it was just a case of keeping my head down and trying not to make any mistakes.”

Second-placed Robinson said: “I was gutted yesterday that I just missed the podium so to get up here today is fantastic. It’s taken a while to adapt from rear-wheel drive Caterham racing to the front-wheel drive Clio Cup car but I set a target of a top-five this weekend and did it in both races. It gives me confidence now that I can go on to get good results in the future.”

Third-placed Pyper said: “I had a reasonable start and was pushing Derek hard for second place before engine trouble forced him to retire. After the Safety Car went into the pits, Winrow and I began playing cat and mouse but I made a slight mistake at the Old Hairpin which cost me. Towards the end of the race I did try to make a move on Robinson for second and I reckon I was quicker than him but I just couldn’t quite catch him before the chequered flag.”

Rounds seven and eight of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup take place at Thruxton circuit on 17th/18th May.

2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup provisional drivers’ standings – round 6

1 Ben Winrow             GBR            Team Pyro                                         190 pts

2 Paul Rivett               GBR            JHR Developments                            117 pts

3 Carl Bradley             GBR            Coastal Racing                                  100 pts

4 Phil Glew                  GBR            Full Speed Racing                             99 pts

5 Mike Robinson         GBR            Total Control Racing                          91 pts

6 Árón Smith               IRL              Mardi Gras Motorsport                        90 pts

7 Derek Pierce           GBR            JD Pierce with Robertshaw Racing   79 pts

8 Robert Gaffney        GBR            EPS UK with Robertshaw Racing     78 pts

9 Gavin Pyper             GBR            Mardi Gras Motorsport                       72 pts

10 Glenn Bell              GBR            Full Speed Racing                              66 pts

For all the latest ELF Renault Clio Cup Championship news visit the official Renault Sport UK website

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