The Michelin Clio Cup Series returns to action at Snetterton this weekend [04-05 August], with privateer Ben Palmer looking to extend his one hundred percent win record in the category.
Reigning Champion Palmer – who fought back from a disappointing qualifying to register another double victory at Thruxton last month – currently heads up the Race Series standings by a 46 point margin.
The fight behind to be his closest challenger is locked in a dead heat, with Pitbull Racing’s Simon Freeman and Westbourne Motorsport’s Ronan Pearson both looking to break Palmer’s run of victories after several podiums apiece.
Tyler Lidsey (MRM) sits just a single point adrift of the duo, and off the back of a podium double in Hampshire last time out will be looking to end the season on a high with a late run of silverware.
Westbourne’s Ben Colburn joined the championships ever-growing list of alumni in the flagship Renault UK Clio Cup – again at Snetterton – last weekend amid difficult conditions, but now the focus shifts back to closing the gap on the trio ahead.
John Hamilton (Jade Developments) and Sean Thomas (Westbourne) are both returnees in the Race Series after being absent at Thruxton, with the latter graduating from the Road Series for the remainder of the 2018 campaign.
Finlay Robinson has been knocking on the door for his maiden podium for a while now after getting to grips with the 2.0 litre, third-generation Clio Cup car, and will expect to continue his recent run of top-six finishes as a minimum.
The same is true of Steve Williams (Jade) and Tony Verhulst (Westbourne), with both looking for their first trips to the rostrum as they complete the Race Series field alongside new entrant Paul Bell.
The clash for honours in the Road Series has a familiar feel to it, with championship stalwart Nic Harrison currently leading the way after eight consecutive victories have helped the Jade Developments racer amass a 39-point lead heading to Norfolk.
However, MRM’s James Joannou has emerged as a potential rival to Harrison, and the pair produced some thrilling door-to-door action at Thruxton, but the experienced contender just pipped Joannou at the chequered flag.
Team Prota’s Tom Oatley has only failed to score a podium finish on one occasion thus far in 2018, and along with the Westbourne-prepared car of Darren Geeraerts will look to apply pressure to Joannou as they bid for second in the class standings.
Richard Guy will fill the void left by Thomas’ switch to the Race Series, racing under Westbourne Motorsport’s banner.
After Snetterton, the championship takes in a triple-header on Anglesey’s Coastal circuit before returning to Silverstone (International) for the BARC’s traditional Finals Day over the first weekend of October.
Ben Palmer says, “Simon Freeman is chipping away at the points gap to me in the championship, and he’s doing really well. He was four tenths faster than me in qualifying at Thruxton, so the game is really now on.”
Simon Freeman says, “I think Snetterton is going to be really close. We had such a good run at Thruxton and that should continue at here. We just need to find a way to get in front of Palmer to knock him from the top spot!”
Tyler Lidsey says, “We’ve had two great rounds before Snetterton, and hopefully this weekend we’ll make it three in a row. The car has felt great, and the weather hot has just added another element of excitement. It’s going to be good!”
Nic Harrison says, “I am in such a strong position heading into the Snetterton rounds, but I’m not going to take that for granted. The racing was incredibly close at Thruxton, and it should be the same scenario this weekend. I’m ready for it…”