HERBERT CROWNED MICHELIN CLIO CUP RACE SERIES CHAMPION
4th October 2015
Westbourne Motorsport driver Luke Herbert (Chichester) wrapped-up the coveted 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series title with a round to spare at Silverstone International Circuit this afternoon, Saturday, 19th September – third place in round 12 enough to put the championship beyond reach.
After a superb campaign, which has so far delivered six wins and a total of nine podiums ahead of the final encounter of the season tomorrow morning, the 25-year-old is a thoroughly deserving title winner having been at the forefront of the championship season-long.
Opening lap dramas for chief title rival Paul Streather (Hinckley) meant Herbert’s path to the Race Series crown was made much more straightforward but holding fourth position going into the last lap, with Streather eighth, he still needed to gain another place to prevent a final round showdown.
Passing team-mate Sam Randon (Ashbourne) for third just before the conclusion Herbert ensured, whatever happens in round 13 on Sunday, he cannot be caught with a 36-point advantage over privateer racer Streather – only a maximum of 34 points can be scored in a race by any one driver.
“Getting the championship in the first race of the weekend is a great relief – and it means I can have a beer tonight to celebrate, it’s normally a strict no alcohol policy!”, said the champion, “What a great way to end, especially getting the trophy on the Formula One rostrum.
“When I saw Paul [Streather] go off the track with Brett [Lidsey], I just had to keep a sensible head and the plan was to sit behind my team-mates. They all slowed each other down on the last corner, I didn’t intend overtaking Sam [Randon] but if the gap was there I just had to take it. I have to say a big thank you to Westbourne, my sponsors, family and, of course, my girlfriend for all their support.”
While the dramatic title battle unfolded, at the front a superb scrap between Finesse Motorsport’s Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth) and Westbourne’s James Dorlin (Barnsley) delivered one of the closest races of the season with Jordan managing to pip Dorlin to the win by 0.2 seconds with a mere 0.6 seconds separating the top four at the flag.
Having dominated qualifying with pole position for both of the weekend’s races, Jordan was edged back to second off the start after a tardy getaway but he hit back on lap two to re-pass Dorlin and then spent the remainder of the 16 lapper fending off the impressive 16-year-old. After a very mixed season, filled with misfortune, Jordan’s third career Race Series win proved popular in the paddock.
“It’s nice to finish off the year like this, it’s all come a bit late though – we’ve had a lot of bad luck, mistakes of my own too, so it is nice to get back on the top step of the podium”, said Jordan, “I’ve had the pace all year really, it’s just not worked out for us. It was a great battle with James [Dorlin] but towards the end my left-rear tyre went off completely – I just managed to hold it to the line.”
The fight over the top two positions wasn’t exclusively between Jordan and Dorlin with Randon and Herbert closing in during the latter stages. On the penultimate tour, Jordan did enjoy some breathing space as Dorlin fell into the clutches of his fellow Westbourne racers but it was Randon who fell victim to an attack from Herbert on the last lap at the final corner to miss the podium.
Fifth position went to Intercity Racing’s Matt Allison (Norwich), the former British Touring Car Championship driver having to work hard from ninth on the grid after a slow puncture in qualifying cost him a shot at pole position.
Paint Perfect Motorsport’s Anton Spires (Milton Keynes), on only his second weekend in the Race Series shadowed Allison over the finish line in sixth – after exhaust issues in qualifying – with top Sport Class runner Adam Hatfield (Cranworth) taking seventh on his maiden outing with Team Pyro.
Streather, who pretty much matched the pace of the top three, had to settle for eighth after being forced to battle back through from his opening lap excursion. Caught-up in a tangle while disputing position with 20Ten Racing’s Brett Lidsey (Gravesend) on lap one, Streather had to fight back from 12th place but eighth was, ultimately, not quite enough.
“I’m never happy if I’m not first”, said a somewhat dejected Streather, “It’s been a strong year, we’ve had ups and downs and it could have been better at times. We had some really good results as well though, so we’ve got to take the positives away from it. I feel I’ve been quicker than Luke [Herbert] a lot of the time, we’ve just had more bad luck than we should have.”
Retirement for Pinder takes Road Series battle to final round decider
Having looked well on course to secure the Michelin Clio Cup Road Series title with relative ease in round 12 today at Silverstone, a dramatic retirement for champion-elect Luke Pinder (Shipley) at the halfway point of the contest means the scene is set for an exciting final race decider on Sunday.
Nic Harrison [Burton-on-Trent] took pole position for the first race of the weekend, seeing off Jade Developments duo Jake Honour [Devizes] and Pinder by 0.4 seconds, but the series leader wasted no time in moving to the front and built a healthy cushion over his pursuers.
Holding a significant 45 point advantage at the start of the race, Pinder looked to have everything in control and the title within his grasp but on the seventh tour he was forced to pull off the circuit on the International Straight with electrical problems.
Harrison assumed the lead with Pinder’s demise but Lidsey managed to usurp the CGHimports.com driver at Stowe with a couple of laps to run. As well as claiming the third victory of his maiden season in cars, the 20Ten racer has closed to within just 15 points of Pinder who did take away the two bonus points for fastest lap.
Honour pipped Harrison to second but post-race the Jade driver was excluded from the results due to a ‘non-compliant part’ on his Clio Renaultsport 197. Harrison, therefore, has been elevated into second and championship debutant Jack Fabby (Mellor) secures a Road Series podium on his maiden outing in Clios having taken the chequered flag an already impressive fourth.
“The win was definitely unexpected”, said Lidsey after today’s win, “I lost a lot of time going onto the straight early on and I could see [Nic] Harrison and [Luke] Pinder go off into the distance, which left a good few car lengths between us. The problem with Pinder’s car brought us all back together and then Harrison made a mistake into Stowe. It’s not over ‘til it’s over – let’s see what we can do.”
Silverstone International Circuit will host the final race of the 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series and Road Series campaign tomorrow morning, Sunday, 20th September, at 11.15. In the Road Series battle, Pinder, Lidsey and Harrison all have a chance of claiming the coveted title.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo, Safety Devices and ALS Performance.
Provisional 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series Driver Standings
(after Rd12 minus drop scores):
CHAMPION: Luke Herbert, 312pts; 2nd Paul Streather, 276pts; 3rd Andy Jordan, 232pts; 4th Sam Randon, 226pts; 5th Brett Lidsey, 212pts; 6th Adam Hatfield, 174pts
Provisional 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Driver Standings
(after Rd12 minus drop scores):
1st Luke Pinder, 297pts; 2nd Tyler Lidsey, 282pts; 3rd Nic Harrison, 273pts;
4th Jake Honour, 241pts; 5th Sarah Franklin, 216pts; 6th John Creasey, 199pts
Track Days / Test Days / MotorsportDays.com