JHR Developments’ Paul Rivett (Banstead) took victory at his home circuit in round 19 of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Brands Hatch on Saturday, 20th September. He led home Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood) who picked up a third podium finish of the season. Dave Newsham (Inverness), making his debut in the championship with Amery Motorsport, finished third after a great drive in only his fourth outing in the car.
Pole-sitter Lanik was passed in the drag race to Paddock Hill Bend as Rivett took the lead. Newsham retained third place ahead of Double Six Racing’s Rob Boston (Doncaster) and Full Speed Racing’s Phil Glew (Alford), contact between the pair resulting in each having slightly damaged steering for the 20-lap race.
Mardi Gras Motorsport’s Gavin Pyper (Fleckney) was the man to lose out in the early stages as he tried to pass Newsham round the outside at Druids hairpin but ran wide and fell to 13th. APO Sport’s Alex Osborne (Northampton) was an early retirement, spinning on cold tyres at Surtees as he battled to hold off Total Control Racing’s Alex MacDowall (Carlisle).
Lap four saw MacDowall pass TCR team-mate Jonathan Ridley-Holloway (Barnstaple) at Paddock Hill Bend for eighth place. The third TCR car, in the hands of Mike Robinson (Effingham), set the fastest lap to that point to close on Coastal Racing’s Carl Bradley (Morecambe).
At the head of the field, Rivett and Lanik were evenly matched in the early laps. Rivett earned two bonus championship points by setting the NGK fastest lap of the race at 53.367s (80.85mph) to extend his lead to more than half a second. Just behind and now with a clear track ahead, MacDowall equalled Rivett’s time exactly to close on Robinson and also score two bonus points.
Lanik hit back on the following lap in the lead battle, taking three-tenths of a second out of Rivett’s lead. As an interesting side note, during the 2007 season when double former Clio Cup champion Rivett wasn’t racing he acted as driver coach to Lanik and the pair were now going head to head around the 1.20-mile circuit.
Newsham was still driving well in third place to keep Boston and Glew at bay, taking a defensive line when necessary and dropping back from the leading pair. Bradley, Robinson and MacDowall were now running as one in the race for sixth. Lap 11 saw Team Pyro’s Chris Rice (Beverley) pass Team Wood Racing’s Lea Wood (Hereford) and on the following lap, Coastal’s Stephen Tyldsley (Guiseley) passed Pyper for 13th.
As Tyldsley gained another place on lap 16, Wood continued in the opposite direction as JHR’s newcomer Max Hunter (Milton Keynes) made a great pass at Graham Hill Bend. At the front, Lanik was once again beginning to reel in Rivett having fallen away for a few laps as their yo-yo battle continued.
Pyper gained a place back on the final lap by passing Range Storage with Robertshaw Racing’s Lee Pattison (Liversedge) at Paddock Hill Bend. Also on the last lap, Wood suffered a major puncture that forced him to cautiously negotiate the final few corners and drop to 21st at the chequered flag.
Leading across the line, Rivett scored his sixth win of the season by 0.510s from Lanik. Newsham was two seconds further back but held on for a brilliant third place ahead of Boston, Glew and Bradley.
Commenting after the race, Paul Rivett said: “I managed to save my tyres in qualifying so I knew I was going to be strong in the race. My start was pretty good to get me ahead and after that it was a case of keeping an eye on the gap and making sure I didn’t make any mistakes. It’s great to win again and hopefully we can do the same again tomorrow to end the season on a real high.”
Second-placed Niki Lanik said: “I think if I’d won the drag race to the first corner I’d have been able to win because my car felt good. The gap to Paul was pretty steady, only gaining or losing 10 yards at a time but never really getting close enough to pass. It’s good to be back on the podium and starting from pole again tomorrow gives me a chance to go one better.”
Third-placed Dave Newsham said: “I was a bit surprised to qualify where I did and to go on and finish on the podium is superb given how little time I’ve had. I was even able to mix up my racing line a bit to cover Rob’s moves and the tyres didn’t wear too badly. I’ll have more work to do tomorrow from 11th but this is a great result.”
Round 20 is scheduled to take place at 17.15 but is dependent on the outcome of round 19 in the Formula Renault UK Championship. If the Formula Renault UK title is decided in round 19, the Clio Cup race will switch to 15.05 and feature live in ITV4’s coverage of the race meeting.
2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup provisional drivers’ standings – round 19 (incl. dropped scores)
1 Ben Winrow GBR Team Pyro 496 pts
2 Paul Rivett GBR JHR Developments 405 pts
3 Phil Glew GBR Full Speed Racing 327 pts
4 Carl Bradley GBR Coastal Racing 256 pts
5 Mike Robinson GBR Total Control Racing 241 pts
6 Niki Lanik AUT Y4HR Miracle Drywash with SVE 237 pts
7 Alex MacDowall GBR Total Control Racing 208 pts
8 Árón Smith IRL Mardi Gras Motorsport 205 pts
9 Lee Pattison GBR Range Storage with Robertshaw Racing 188 pts
10 Gavin Pyper GBR Mardi Gras Motorsport 187 pts