MEMORABLE DAY FOR PATTISON AS HE TAKES FIRST CLIO WIN Lee Pattison (Liversedge) is celebrating a first series win after clinching victory in round 18 of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup on Sunday, 31st August. The Range Storage with Robertshaw...
MEMORABLE DAY FOR PATTISON AS HE TAKES FIRST CLIO WIN
Lee Pattison (Liversedge) is celebrating a first series win after clinching victory in round 18 of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup on Sunday, 31st August. The Range Storage with Robertshaw Racing driver took the lead on lap two and was never headed in difficult wet conditions. JHR Developments' Steven Hunter (Dronfield) was second, with Total Control Racing's Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) adding a third place to his round 17 win.
At the start of the race, JHR's pole-sitter Paul Rivett (Banstead) held the inside line on the run to Copse as Hodgetts challenged round the outside. Pattison tucked in behind Rivett on the inside and the trio ran through Becketts and then Brooklands as one. Rivett suffered a loss of grip through Luffield, fighting to keep the car on track but dropping to seventh as Hodgetts inherited the lead ahead of Pattison.
Hunter had moved from sixth on the grid to third ahead of Double Six Racing's Rob Boston (Doncaster), TCR's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) and Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood). APO Sport's Alex Osborne (Northampton) made a great start from 15th on the grid and passed the recovering Rivett to lie seventh at the start of lap two.
As the rain lashed down and spray caused problems for all drivers, lap two saw Hodgetts become the second leader in as many laps to slide out of first place. He ran wide at Becketts to hand Pattison the lead and Hunter took second place. The top three edged clear of Boston, while Lanik took fifth from MacDowall at Copse but not without contact that earned a formal reprimand from the Clerk of the Course and a two-point licence endorsement.
Having reached 10th place from 16th on the grid, Full Speed Racing's Phil Glew (Alford) lost the position to Mardi Gras Motorsport's Gavin Pyper (Fleckney) and then ran into the gravel to drop back to 16th place. Down the order, TCR's Jonathan Ridley-Holloway (Barnstaple) got out of shape exiting Brooklands before contact involving Team Pyro's Jeff Smith (Wellingborough) and EPS UK with Robertshaw Racing's Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) put all three out of the race.
Running in sixth place at his home circuit, Osborne ran wide at Brooklands and through the gravel on lap five to rejoin in 21st place. In the lead battle, Hunter set the NGK fastest lap of the race at 1min 12.872s (80.96mph) to close the gap on Pattison to one second. Pattison almost lost the lead at Becketts as he slid wide, managing to hold the inside line into Brooklands to retain the place before edging away on lap seven.
Rivett's early promise continued to fade as his JHR team-mate Matt Allison (Norwich) took sixth place on lap seven. The race for 10th saw Coastal Racing's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) and Team Pyro with Dewsport's Alex Dew (Bampton) joined by Phil Glew after his second charge through the field of the race.
As Glew tried to pass Dew on lap nine, contact between the pair damaged Glew's left front wheel to force him into retirement. Four laps later, Bradley was on the receiving end of a tap from Dew at Becketts that dropped Bradley to 17th and earned Dew a formal reprimand and two-point licence endorsement.
With just four of the 18 laps remaining, Pattison's lead was down to just half a second as Hunter and Hodgetts tried to use their greater Clio Cup experience to unsettle the 34-year-old. Hodgetts then tried to take second place with a late-braking manoeuvre at Brooklands but Hunter kept the place as Hodgetts lost grip through Luffield. At Becketts on the following lap, Hodgetts strayed onto the grass as he locked the brakes fighting for second once more and was forced to settle for third.
The action behind left Pattison in the clear to take a deserved first Clio Cup win having shown great pace all weekend. Hunter crossed the line one second adrift, with Hodgetts now three seconds further back. Boston had his best result of the season in fourth with Lanik and Allison completing the top six.
Commenting after the race, Lee Pattison said: "It's been a good switch of team this weekend, mainly because it allowed me access to data from previous seasons that I didn't have as a privateer team. Robertshaw Racing has given me a brilliant car and it was up to me to make the most of it. I ran a bit wide on the last corner of the last lap because I was still trying to find new lines, but I'm really happy with this win."
Second-placed Steven Hunter said: "It was an entertaining race and it's great to be on the podium. Although Stefan was close I didn't feel under any pressure because I couldn't see anything in my mirrors through the spray! Lee was flying, especially through the Complex, and I was never able to get a good run at him on the straights."
Third-placed Stefan Hodgetts said: "I was biding my time for the first half of the race and then tried to pick up the pace later on. I made a good move on Steven but just couldn't hold it -- I think if I had it would have been a great last couple of laps going for the win. I'm happy with another podium and TCR has done a great job once again."
The win moves Pattison up into ninth place in the drivers' standings. The 2008 Clio Cup champion Ben Winrow elected not to start the race having already scored enough points to secure the title.