15th June 2015


Two superb action-packed Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series contests at Thruxton in Hampshire over the weekend, 13th/14th June, delivered a familiar result with points leader Luke Herbert (Chichester) once again emerging victorious.

Despite huge pressure in rounds four and five, the Westbourne Motorsport driver opened up an enhanced 39 point lead at the top of the headline Race Series ahead of team-mate Sam Randon (Ashbourne), who finished a very close second in round five and also posted a new lap record.

Intercity Racing’s Matt Allison (Norwich) pushed Herbert all the way in the first race of the weekend on Saturday – the former British Touring Car Championship and British GT racer’s long awaited return to competitive action – to finish second on his maiden outing in the Race Series. 

Brett Lidsey (Gravesend) completed the round four podium for 20Ten Racing after a very impressive drive, while Finesse Motorsport’s Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth) claimed a deserved podium in Sunday’s encounter with third place. Jordan, who starred on Saturday after taking fourth from 10th on the grid following an excursion in qualifying, bested that in race two with third from 13th at the start. 

Mirroring his performances from Rockingham in April, Luke Pinder (Shipley) was again a class apart in the Michelin Clio Cup Road Series for Jade Developments with two more wins. His lead in the category for race converted Clio Renaultsport 197 roadcars now stands at a huge 40 points. 

Jake Honour (Devizes) and Nic Harrison (Burton-on-Trent) finished second to Pinder in rounds four and five respectively, while John Creasey (Lincoln) and Tyler Lidsey (Dartford) each secured their maiden outright podiums, Creasey with third in race one and Lidsey taking third on Sunday.

Four wins from five for Herbert

Qualifying on Saturday was Allison’s first competitive outing at the wheel of his Intercity Clio and he announced his welcome arrival in the championship in style, securing pole position for round four and second on the grid behind Herbert for round five.

Herbert, though, got the better launch at the start of race one and managed to edged ahead of Allison out of Allard to take a lead he would never relinquish. The points leader was, however, put under intense pressure throughout the 10 laps with Allison particularly quick in the fast sections.

In truth, any of the lead half dozen had a chance of a podium with vintage close action which was also very well-mannered too. In the end, Allison took the flag 0.3 seconds behind Herbert with the impressive Brett Lidsey bagging a hard-earned top three finish for his third podium of the season.

Jordan raced brilliantly from 10th on the grid to finish in fourth place, having been as high third at mid-distance after a battle with Lidsey. The result was testament to the great work of the Finesse mechanics to get Jordan’s car race-ready after the dramas of qualifying.

Team-mate Pete Bennett (Norwich) almost pipped Jordan on the line, just 0.071 seconds separating the pair, with 16-year-old championship debutant James Dorlin (Barnsley) an excellent sixth for Westbourne on his first race outing in a 2.0-litre Clio Cup car.

In round five on Sunday, Herbert again aced the start – this time leading into Allard from pole – as team-mate Randon moved up from third on the grid into second ahead of Lidsey. Determined to make his fellow Westbourne racer work for the win, Randon pressured throughout but Herbert again made no mistakes and on the sprint to the line he took the win by just 0.197 seconds.

With the leading contenders again running nose-to-tail, the battle for the final rostrum placing was intense and Jordan came out on top after another superb drive through the order. Already up into seventh from 13th on lap one, he managed to see off Bennett, Lidsey – who survived a tangle with Allison – and privateer Paul Streather (Hinckley) who completed the top six fractions apart.

Luke Herbert (after Rd5):

“It’s more of a challenge when you’re fighting your team-mate. I think that race came down to where we started and I was fortunate enough to be on pole, if Sam had started where I did it could have been his win. It was a clean race, great fun, and now I’m really looking forward to Croft.”

Sam Randon (after Rd5):

“I was pushing so hard, sideways through Church is pretty hairy, but it was really great to be racing Luke [Herbert] for the win rather than him being a little distance in front. Hopefully we’ll get race one nailed as well next time, and come away with two good results instead of just one!”

Matt Allison (after Rd4):

“I’ve never been so disappointed finishing second to be honest, ultimately though we’ve got to put it into perspective – it was my first competitive Clio race since 2011 and my first standing start since then too. I didn’t make a bad start, Luke just got away slightly better. We’ve shown our intent.”

Road Series ace Pinder extends 100% win record and perfect points total 

Former rally driver Luke Pinder was again the dominant force during rounds four and five of the Michelin Clio Cup Road Series, the Jade Developments racer taking two clear wins and fastest lap in each outing to extend his 100% record for 2015.

Seeing off first time pole-starter John Creasey at the beginning of each contest, Pinder was able to control both races from the front but the battle behind for the remaining podium places was highly entertaining in each encounter.

During round four, Jake Honour eventually finished in the runner-up spot after a fantastic drive through from a lower than expected sixth on the grid but he was under extreme pressure with Creasey, Nic Harrison and Sport Class racer Tyler Lidsey all hot on his heels. At the flag on lap 10, they finished in that order with just over a second splitting all four on the run to the line.

Harrison emerged as the runner-up in round five, ahead of Lidsey, Creasey, Matt Fincham (Aylesbury), Honour and Sarah Franklin (Kettering). Almost any of the runners had a chance of the podium but Creasey and Honour’s hopes vanished on a dramatic final lap at the chicane when a tangle launched the latter onto two wheels and delayed both, enabling Lidsey to sneak through.

Luke Pinder (after Rd5): 

“Let’s hope it stays like this, we’re aiming to try and win every one if we can and the guys at Jade have done a spot-on job again with the car. We didn’t really know what set-up to run, with these cars not having been here before, but they did a fabulous job.”

Nic Harrison (after Rd5):

“I’m over the moon with second place, better than Saturday which was fourth. I didn’t get as good a start but the end result is there. There aren’t a lot of places to overtake, everybody is going as fast as everybody else so if you get a little gap you’ve got to get in there and hopefully make the move.” 

Tyler Lidsey (after Rd5):

“It was very tough at the start. I stayed with the pace a little bit, got a bit pushed out at certain points, but tried to get my head down and once I knew I was on the pace, I just kept going. It was a bit hairy being side-by-side with Jake [Honour] through Church – I’m very pleased.”

Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire will host rounds six and seven of the Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series four weeks from now, over the weekend 11th/12th July.

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 Rd5):

1st Luke Herbert, 156pts; 2nd Sam Randon, 117pts;

3rd Brett Lidsey/Andy Jordan, 111pts; 5th Paul Streather, 102pts; 6th Tom Barley, 82pts

Provisional 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Driver Standings (after Rd5):

1st Luke Pinder, 170pts; 2nd Jake Honour, 130pts; 3rd Nic Harrison, 122pts;

4th Matt Fincham, 105pts; 5th Tyler Lidsey, 97pts; 6th Sarah Franklin, 88pts

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