Rowbottom celebrates first win at Snetterton as Coates edges clear in title race

31st July 2018

Daniel Rowbottom (Kidderminster) and Max Coates (Scorton) shared the wins in the Renault UK Clio Cup’s pair of rain-affected rounds at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit today – shown live on ITV4 and which could have a major bearing on the outcome of the 2018 title race.

Race one saw Rowbottom prevail in treacherously wet conditions after a sensational opening lap took him from ninth on the grid to second and onto the boot lid of early leader James Dorlin (Barnsley). Four times this pair then traded the lead before Dorlin slithered off the greasy track to gift Rowbottom a three second lead.

Rowbottom was in control from then on as he took the chequered flag for his and his small DRM team’s first win in the Clio Cup.

Ash Hand (Nuneaton) crossed the line next up, but a time penalty for an incident during the race relegated him to sixth and promoted Team Pyro’s Bradley Burns (Farnham) and his Matrix Motorsport team-mate Michael Epps (Hemel Hempstead) to second and third in the final result. Epps’s third place marked the first podium result for the Matrix squad in its maiden Clio Cup season…

The race was a real highlight of Snetterton’s British Touring Car Championship fixture and ITV4 was quick to add it into its comprehensive race day broadcast. Race two, shown live and in full on the channel, was then another example of why the Clio Cup stands out as the ultimate ‘feeder category’ to the BTCC with more great racing up and down the grid…

Dorlin held the lead initially but Pyro’s Coates, who had started from pole position, refused to let him go and closed in before surging past with a bold move. This is how they stayed to the flag, Coates finishing just over a second clear of Dorlin in second while WDE’s Lee Pattison (Halifax) took third.

Significantly, WDE’s Paul Rivett (Epsom Downs), another of the title protagonists along with Coates and Dorlin, failed to score and this has had an affect at the top of the championship standings. With just six rounds now left to go (the next two are at Rockingham in Northamptonshire in mid-August), Coates has opened up a 27-point gap at the top over Rivett. Just three points further back in third is Dorlin…

Elsewhere there were a number of other stand-out performances during the Snetterton weekend, particularly from the three 16-year-old drivers making their Clio Cup debuts.

Jack Young (Belfast) proved rapid in all conditions – second in Friday testing, sixth in qualifying and running as high as third at one stage in race one; Nick Reeve (Romford) was equally speedy with the fastest lap of all on his and the Specialized Motorsport team’s debut in race one which was followed by a fine tenth place in race two; Westbourne’s Ben Colburn (Worthing) also showed he was well capable of mixing it with the established names.

WDE’s Dan Zelos (Dereham) continued his rich vein of form in front of his home crowd with fifth and fourth places in the two races.

MRM’s Brett Lidsey (Dartford) produced a pair of great comeback drives: he went from 22nd to 13th in race one and 23rd to 15th in race two. WDE’s Nicolas Hamilton (Welwyn Garden City) was another to impress in race one with a drive that took him from 20th to 14th. But the driver to make up most positions in either race was Pyro’s Jack McCarthy (Bromley) who went from 22nd to sixth in race two with a remarkable drive.

Meanwhile Pyro’s Zak Fulk (Guildford) celebrated a first win in the Graduates Cup for younger drivers in race two but it is team-mate Burns who continues to lead the class. Pyro still leads the Entrants Trophy for teams but remains under considerable pressure from WDE.

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