Silverstone International Circuit provided the perfect venue for an absolutely sensational final round of the Michelin Clio Cup Series season on Sunday, 20th September, with Luke Pinder sealing the Road Series title with a dominant class victory while Andy Jordan secured a dream weekend double with a back-to-back win in the headline Race Series.
For Jade Developments driver Pinder, the pace-setter in the Road Series throughout the year, his impressive and faultless performance in the last race of the campaign was the perfect response to a bitterly disappointing retirement from round 12 on Saturday afternoon with electrical problems. Having seen a 45 point championship lead ahead of the season finale dramatically slashed after race one of the weekend, Pinder quickly moved into the lead of round 13 from second on the grid and was never threatened on his way to a 12 second victory.
“It’s fantastic to take the championship with a win – it’s good in some ways to take it to the wire, but I was getting stressed after yesterday and it was a bit of a sleepless night last night”, commented Pinder, “It was a tough weekend from the start, qualifying didn’t go to plan as we lost a couple of gears and then the electrical problem in race one, which was just a 10 pence battery terminal!
“It’s all come good in the end though, the team did a great job with the car, and we’re really happy to have finally wrapped it up. I’d like to do the Race Series next year, that’s the main plan – it’s just about sponsors and budget, though, as always!”
Tyler Lidsey ended the encounter in second position but, post-race, the 20Ten Racing driver was excluded from the results due to a technical infringement, so the amended podium order featured a Jade top three lock-out. Jake Honour , who started the race from the pit-lane as a result of a penalty in Saturday afternoon’s contest, climbed through the order impressively to finish third on the road before being promoted into second.
“I think we were a bit unlucky with what happened on Saturday”, said Honour, “They allowed us to start from the pitlane though, instead of at the back with the 10 second penalty, so that helped and I said to myself if I could catch the pack and have them in my sights I’d be happy. To make up some places and get onto the podium, though, is unbelievable and a great way to finish the season.”
Most notably, though, Michelin Clio Cup Road Series debutant Jack Fabby was elevated from fourth to third – the second podium of his maiden weekend in the category – and the result also delivered the 16-year-old’s first ‘Sport’ class victory, a superb outing for the youngster.Westbourne’s Sarah Franklin ended the race in fourth place, ahead of Paint Perfect Motorsport’s John Creasey , and despite being forced to retire Nic Harrison was able to end the season as Vice-Champion due to Lidsey’s troubles.
Finesse Motorsport’s Andy Jordan capped off the best weekend of his Michelin Clio Cup Race Series career during an entertaining final race of the season, seeing off championship top two Luke Herbert and Paul Streather in the end to bag a stunning Silverstone double. Lining-up on pole position for the second time this weekend, Jordan led away initially but a storming launch from Herbert – who wrapped-up the Race Series title on Saturday – enabled the Westbourne driver to brilliantly move ahead around the outside at Abbey from fourth on the grid.
Leading from Jordan, Streather, Sam Randon and James Dorlin early on, Herbert held the advantage until lap four when Jordan made his move at Stowe. For Randon, though, an unfortunate spin led to a pit visit and he eventually finished the race in ninth position. With Randon’s removal from the equation, Dorlin assumed fourth place and he started to punch in fastest lap times with some very impressive driving. Posting the fastest of the race and a new lap record for Silverstone International of 1m15.340 seconds (88.44mph) on lap eight, Dorlin really made his mark. Getting ahead of team-mate Herbert on lap seven, after the champion had already been usurped by Streather, Dorlin pressed on and set about trying to challenge Streather for second. As the Race Series leaders began to lap the Road Series contenders, the traffic worked perfectly for Jordan who was able to extend his lead from 0.6 seconds on lap 10 to 6.8 seconds at the flag on lap 16.
“My start wasn’t the best, Luke [Herbert] got a blinding start – as he always does – and then I just sat behind him as my rears just hadn’t come in”, said Jordan, “After that I started to put some pressure on and managed to do a move around Stowe, when Paul [Streather] got onto the back of him I was able to move away. The backmarkers timed perfectly for me – great way to end the year.”
The fantastic battle over the second and third steps on the podium wasn’t resolved until the end, after some tremendous place changing, with Streather taking the runner-up spot – his seventh podium of the year – ahead of Herbert, the latter reporting a misfire which pegged back his pace. Brett Lidsey took the chequered flag in fourth position for 20Ten Racing with Dorlin fifth, after an unfortunate spin three laps from the conclusion, and Intercity Racing’s Matt Allison sixth.
Time penalties, a result of track limits infringements, were applied to both Lidsey and Allison though so Dorlin was classified fourth and Adam Hatfield took a season-best fifth place for Team Pyro. Lidsey and Allison were sixth and seventh in the end, ahead of series returnee Charlie Fulk, Paint Perfect’s Anton Spires retired with exhaust issues. As well as the coveted championship trophies, Race Series and Road Series champions Herbert and Pinder have also earned a prize test in a fourth generation turbo-powered Clio Cup race car, as utilised in the British Touring Car Championship-supporting Renault UK Clio Cup. The test outing will take place on Friday, 9th October, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo, Safety Devices and ALS Performance.
Final 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series Driver Standings:
CHAMPION: Luke Herbert, 337pts; 2nd Paul Streather, 304pts; 3rd Andy Jordan, 264pts; 4th Sam Randon, 238pts; 5th Brett Lidsey, 230pts; 6th James Dorlin, 208pts
Final 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Road Series Driver Standings:
CHAMPION: Luke Pinder, 331pts; 2nd Nic Harrison, 291pts; 3rd Tyler Lidsey, 282pts; 4th Jake Honour, 269pts; 5th Sarah Franklin, 238pts; 6th John Creasey, 219pts