JHR Developments’ Paul Rivett (Banstead) brought his ELF Renault Clio Cup season to a positive conclusion with a second lights-to-flag win at Brands Hatch Indy circuit. The double former champion, who finishes as vice-champion in 2008, won round 20 on Sunday, 21st September by more than four seconds. Double Six Racing’s Rob Boston (Doncaster) clinched the first podium of his car racing career with a determined drive to second ahead of Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood).
With 2008 Clio Cup champion Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) opting not to contest the final two rounds, the start of the race saw Rivett out-drag Lanik on the run to Paddock Hill Bend for the second day in succession to take the lead. Lanik then dropped to third at Clearways as Boston found a way past on the narrow 1.20-mile circuit having beaten Full Speed Racing’s Phil Glew (Alford) off the line.
Just behind the leaders, Total Control Racing’s Mike Robinson (Effingham) saw his race end in the gravel at Druids hairpin having been squeezed out wide as the pack approached the tight turn up to three cars wide. One corner later at Graham Hill Bend, JHR’s Max Hunter (Milton Keynes) clipped the kerb and slid into Amery Motorsport’s Dave Newsham (Inverness), who was turned around and out of the race on Cooper Straight bringing out the Safety Car. Hunter was later given a formal reprimand by the Clerk of the Course and a two-point licence endorsement.
At the restart, Range Storage with Robertshaw Racing’s Lee Pattison (Liversedge) took the outside line at Druids setting him up to pass TCR’s Jonathan Ridley-Holloway (Barnstaple) on the inside at Graham Hill Bend. The following lap saw JD Pierce with JHR’s Derek Pierce (West Kilbride) pass APO Sport’s Alex Osborne (Northampton) on the inside at Druids.
Mardi Gras Motorsport’s Árón Smith (Rathfarnham) and Hunter joined Osborne and Pierce in their close battle, the quartet running as one for more than half a lap before Smith retired with a broken throttle cable. As Rivett built a handy lead, Boston was already taking a defensive line through Paddock Hill as he fought off Lanik.
Lap 10 saw a small slip from Boston as he ran onto the grass exiting Graham Hill Bend but kept his speed up to retain second through Surtees. Further down the order, Team Wood Racing’s Lea Wood (Hereford) was making progress and gained another place when Pierce retired with a puncture.
On lap 13 of what was now a 23-lap race after the Safety Car intervention, Glew joined the race for second and made a move on the inside of Lanik at Graham Hill Bend. Lanik ran wide to avoid contact and as Glew also slowed mid-corner, Coastal Racing’s Carl Bradley (Morecambe) pounced to take fourth.
In midfield, Hunter and Wood were now chasing Osborne as the action continued throughout the order. Lap 14 saw the final retirement of the race as Mardi Gras’ Gavin Pyper (Fleckney) was nudged into the gravel by Pattison and although he made it back to the pits, Pyper could not continue.
As Boston and Lanik remained seemingly attached for second and third, Bradley Glew and TCR’s Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) continued their battle for fourth. At the lower end of the top 10, Hunter passed Osborne for ninth before overtaking Pattison for eighth just three laps later.
Lap 18 saw Glew regain fourth from Bradley but he ran wide at Paddock Hill allowing Bradley back through at Druids and MacDowall then passed Glew at Surtees. Meanwhile, Amery’s David Shepherd scored two surprise bonus championship points for the NGK fastest lap of the race at 53.577s (80.53mph) despite running in 15th place.
On course to finish fourth in the championship, Bradley had five fourth-placed finishes to his name prior to the final round and was determined to score a maiden Clio Cup podium. However, the gap to Boston and Lanik proved too much to bridge in the final four laps leaving him to take another fourth place.
The last decisive action saw disappointment for Hunter on his debut weekend in Clio Cup racing, a puncture after clipping a kerb dropping him to 12th as he crossed the line having been on course for eighth. At the head of the field, Rivett took a comfortable victory by 4.024s from a delighted Boston with Lanik in third.
Commenting after the race, Paul Rivett said: “That’s a nice way to finish the season, with two lights to flag wins. We’ve had seven wins this season and although we didn’t quite win the title, congratulations to Ben for what he did. I have to thank my team, JHR Developments, which has done a great job for me all season.”
Second-placed Rob Boston, who won his place on the grid through the Double Six Scholarship, said: “Mentally, that’s the hardest race I’ve ever done but it feels great to get my first podium. When my pit board said 16 laps to go, I didn’t think I was going to be able to hold on. Then it got down to six and I knew I had a chance. There’s no opportunity like the scholarship and I’m just happy for the Double Six team.”
Third-placed Niki Lanik said: “I made a bit of an error to let Rob through on lap one because I didn’t see him coming in my mirrors. When he got past I had Glew on my bumper for the first of the race and he tried a pass that I saw coming and stayed wide to avoid contact. Two pole positions and two podiums from the last weekend is a great way to end the season. I’ll do lots of testing in the winter and come back fully ready to go for the title next year.”
In the Entrants’ championship, JHR Developments retained its title by 49 points ahead of Total Control Racing, with Team Pyro in third.
2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup provisional drivers’ standings – round 20 (incl. dropped scores)
1 Ben Winrow GBR Team Pyro 496 pts
2 Paul Rivett GBR JHR Developments 437 pts
3 Phil Glew GBR Full Speed Racing 345 pts
4 Carl Bradley GBR Coastal Racing 278 pts
5 Niki Lanik AUT Y4HR Miracle Drywash with SVE 262 pts
6 Mike Robinson GBR Total Control Racing 241 pts
7 Alex MacDowall GBR Total Control Racing 228 pts
8 Rob Boston GBR Double Six Racing 211 pts
9 Árón Smith IRL Mardi Gras Motorsport 205 pts
10 Lee Pattison GBR Range Storage with Robertshaw Racing 202 pts