WINROW REBUILDS LEAD WITH SILVERSTONE VICTORY Team Pyro's Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) took his sixth victory of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup season at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on Sunday, 8th June. A crowd of 70,000 came to the UK round...
WINROW REBUILDS LEAD WITH SILVERSTONE VICTORY
Team Pyro's Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) took his sixth victory of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup season at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on Sunday, 8th June. A crowd of 70,000 came to the UK round of World Series by Renault, with the national-level saloon-car championship providing a second thrilling support race at the home of the British Grand Prix.
Total Control Racing's Jonathan Adam (Fife) completed a great one-off outing in the series where he was champion in 2005 with second place, while Full Speed Racing's Phil Glew (Alford) made it four consecutive third place finishes. Winrow's main championship rival Paul Rivett (Banstead) was fifth, extending Winrow's lead in the drivers' standings to 62 points.
The start of the 12-lap race saw Glew immediately blast past Adam from third on the grid and challenge Winrow for the lead through Copse. Adam then took a tight line on the exit of Abbey chicane to regain second, while JHR Developments' Rivett looked to join the battle by moving to the outside of Glew at Priory before settling into fourth.
Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood) enjoyed a great opening lap, the Austrian passing TCR's Alex MacDowall for fifth having started eighth on the grid. EPS UK with Robertshaw Racing's Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) passed APO Sport's Alex Osborne (Northampton) for eighth on lap one before losing the place back to the local driver on the following tour.
As the tussle for second place continued, Winrow took full advantage to build a 2.2s lead by the end of lap two. However, an incident in midfield that saw Full Speed's Chris Panayiotou (Cheshunt) and Coastal Racing's Stephen Tyldsley (Guiseley) both retire at Abbey, brought out the Safety Car to negate his lead.
At the restart on lap six, the top five broke away slightly ahead of TCR's Mike Robinson (Effingham) who was coming under pressure from team-mate MacDowall as he looked to make up for a poor opening to the race. Rivett was swarming all over the back of Glew's car in the race for third early in the lap, before coming under pressure himself from Lanik. Just behind, JHR's Richard Cannon (Chesterfield) was hoping to repeat his fine round 11 result by passing Coastal's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) for 11th.
At the head of the field, Winrow set about immediately re-establishing his lead and posted the NGK fastest lap of the race at 2min 10.181s (88.33mph) to leave Adam trailing. MacDowall ran wide at Copse in his efforts to pass Robinson, but he completed the move later in the lap. Just behind, the race for eighth saw Osborne and Mardi Gras Motorsport's Gavin Pyper (Fleckney) run side by side through Club and a touch slightly at Abbey to allow Gaffney to briefly pass Pyper before he re-took the place.
On lap 10, Osborne and Pyper came together again but this time the contact was firmer forcing Osborne into a slide at Abbey. As Bradley took evasive action he ran into the tyre wall to bring out the Safety Car for a second time. The resulting running order saw Pyper in eighth ahead of Gaffney, Double Six Racing's Rob Boston (Doncaster), P9 Race Shop/Range Storage's Lee Pattison (Liversedge) and the unfortunate Osborne in 12th.
Under Safety Car conditions, Pyro's Chris Law (Guernsey) hit Mardi Gras' David Dickenson (Keatingstown) from behind on the exit of Abbey chicane to force both into retirement in the pit lane. The removal of Bradley's car took two laps, by which time the race had almost reached its 30-minute maximum time. As the Safety Car pulled into the pit lane it left time for one final lap and a last chance to make up places.
Winrow opened a gap after expertly slowing the field through the final corner, while Adam was clear in second place. The main action came in the race for third with Rivett determined to make the podium and Glew equally focussed on holding him off. On the run through the final corners, Lanik also joined the scrap but saw his race end in the gravel at the exit of Brooklands, while Rivett lost fourth place to MacDowall. Pyper passed Robinson for sixth, while JD Pierce with Robertshaw Racing's Derek Pierce (West Kilbride) took 14th from Mardi Gras' Aron Smith (Rathfarnham).
Commenting after the race, Winrow said: "I've had two good races with Jonathan today and I'm very pleased to have got the better of him this time because he's a great driver. My car felt like it was working perfectly thanks to the work the team has done and I was comfortable with pulling away from the pack despite the two restarts. It's as important to win here as much as any meeting but the size of the crowd does make it more special."
Second-placed Jonathan Adam said: "It's been an excellent weekend with a win and a second place and I've really enjoyed it. Ben never made a mistake through the whole race and did a great job. Once again I have to thank TCR for producing a great car and it's been great to race in front of a big crowd like this."
Third-placed Phil Glew said: "Paul was all over me early on and we had another good race where he pushed me on all the time. I nearly lost out when I got a tap on the last lap but I'm really pleased to be up on the podium again and it makes it even sweeter to beat a driver of his quality."
Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup take place at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit on 12th/13th July.