BOOSTED GRID FOR BRANDS HATCH AS TEAM PYRO RETURNS TO CLIO CUP SERIES
21st July 2015
Renowned one-make saloon car specialist Team Pyro is to make a welcome return to the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series this coming weekend, 25th/26th July, for the eighth and ninth rounds of the season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent.
Set to field a pair of third generation 2.0-litre normally aspirated Clios, one for category newcomer Darren Johnson (Kidderminster) and the other for the returning Andy Wilkins (Harpenden), the Barwell squad makes its first appearance in the Race Series since the end of the 2014 campaign.
With Johnson and Wilkins also confirmed to contest the championship finale at Silverstone in September, Pyro will expand to three cars there with businessman Charlie Fulk (Woking) set to make a return to action in the Race Series having made his car racing debut in the category during the Croft finale last year.
Married father of two Johnson, who away from the track runs his own business in construction, is relatively new to motorsport having progressed from track day events over the course of the last 12 months. As a class winner in the MSV Team Trophy, the CSCC New Millennium Series and the Britcar Saloon Series, the 49-year-old is thrilled to be achieving his aim of racing in the Clio Cup Series.
“I’ve had my eye on racing in the Michelin Clio Cup Series for a while – I bought Josh Files’ 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup championship winning car from Pyro and have done a few club meetings but I was always planning to do the Clio Series”, explained Johnson.
“The time is right to join the championship, I’ve only had one test at Brands before but hopefully I’ll be OK, although I’m sure it will be an eye-opener! The plan is to do the full championship next year, we’ll see how I get on – I’m so looking forward to it.”
Wilkins, who embarked on his first full season in car racing last year in the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series with Team Pyro, makes a welcome return for the first time since the 2014 season finale and is aiming to simply enjoy his first weekend back behind the wheel of a potent Race Series Clio.
“The reason I haven’t raced so far this year is due to budget as a result of what I’m doing in my personal life – basically, I promised my wife I wouldn’t spend so much on my racing as we’re renovating our Victorian home which is a money pit!”, said the 45-year-old.
“I don’t have particularly high expectations for Brands as I’ll be racing against people with a lot more experience. I have set a personal goal though of a lap in the 53 second bracket, in qualifying last year I did a 54.060 second lap so if I can find seven hundredths I’ll be a happy man! If I can keep with a few of the guys it’ll be good, I just want to enjoy it.”
Race Series leader Herbert looking to hit back at Brands
Going into rounds eight and nine this weekend, Westbourne Motorsport’s Luke Herbert (Chichester) heads the Race Series standings by 37 points. Despite missing out on a podium finish for the first time this year last time out at Croft, the season-long championship leader’s advantage was only marginally reduced by a couple of points.
Having taken four wins from the first five races, Herbert had to take something of a back seat to team-mate Sam Randon (Ashbourne), former British Touring Car Championship racer Matt Allison (Norwich) and privateer racer Paul Streather (Hinckley) during rounds six and seven.
While Randon, who secured his first double pole position at Croft, ultimately missed out on his elusive maiden victory in the Race Series, he did consolidate second place in the championship behind team-mate Herbert.
Intercity Racing’s Allison and Streather took a win apiece, the former sealing his first car racing win since 2011 and Streather doubling his tally for the year, and the battle behind Herbert in the title race majorly closed-up.
Just nine points separate Randon in second, third placed Finesse Motorsport driver Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth), Streather in fourth position and 20Ten Racing’s Brett Lidsey (Gravesend) in fifth. The next group of drivers is headed by Lidsey’s team-mate Tom Barley (Crayford) in sixth position.
One of the star performers at Croft was 16-year-old Westbourne Motorsport driver James Dorlin (Barnsley), the reigning Junior Saloon Car Champion sealing his maiden Clio Cup Series podium in only his third race in the category.
High drama in the Michelin Clio Cup Road Series at Croft resulted in a zero score for erstwhile points leader Luke Pinder (Shipley) and fellow Jade Developments racer Jake Honour (Devizes), an accident on the first lap of the opening contest ruling both out of the remainder of the event.
First year car racer Tyler Lidsey (Dartford) took full advantage to chalk-up a memorable double win, his first ever outright victories, while a brace of second place results helped CGHimports.com driver Nic Harrison (Burton-on-Trent) move to the top of the championship, eight points ahead of Pinder.
Lidsey’s successes hoisted him into third in the championship ahead of his home event this coming weekend, while Sarah Franklin (Kettering) is fourth in the standings for Westbourne – thanks to a pair of third places at Croft – ahead of Honour.
Qualifying for rounds eight and nine at Brands Hatch will get underway at 11.05 on Saturday, 25th July, with the first race of the weekend following at 15.20. Round nine is scheduled to begin at 11.30 on Sunday, 26th July. Live timing, as ever, will be available to view HERE
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices with further support for the Road Series from Monster Sport Europe.
Provisional 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series Driver Standings (after Rd7):
1st Luke Herbert, 196pts; 2nd Sam Randon, 159pts; 3rd Andy Jordan, 153pts;
4th Paul Streather, 152pts; 5th Brett Lidsey, 150pts; 6th Tom Barley, 105pts
Provisional 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Driver Standings (after Rd7):
1st Nic Harrison, 178pts; 2nd Luke Pinder, 170pts; 3rd Tyler Lidsey, 165pts;
4th Sarah Franklin, 138pts; 5th Jake Honour, 130pts; 6th Matt Fincham, 105pts
Track Days / Test Days / MotorsportDays.com