Colburn takes crucial maiden win and championship lead into final racePosted: October 2, 2011
Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn finally took his first Clio Cup series victory yesterday in round 15 at Brands Hatch, and it puts him in the championship lead heading into today’s final race of the season.
Qualifying was dominated by Paul Rivett – equal third on points with Colburn heading into the round – taking a double pole position, but Colburn caught Rivett napping at the start of the race and made a bold move around the outside of Rivett at Paddock Hill Bend to take the lead.
The pack made it to Druids without drama with Colburn leading up the hill, but Jack Goff’s title challenge ended after contact with Scuderia Vittoria’s Luke Wright that left the pair beached in the Druids gravel trap. The incident caused a safety period and promoted championship leader Aron Smith fourth behind Jake Packun.
Colburn made a mighty restart to shake off Rivett fairly quickly, while Smith was also on a charge and made a crucial move on Packun on the restart to snatch a podium spot and those extra points.
The front four were tightly packed throughout the final laps but Colburn wasnot to be denied his maiden win, beating championship rivals Rivett and Smith to the flag while Packun came home a solid fourth place.
Finishing fifth after a superb drive through the field from eleventh on the grid was fastest man of the race, Scuderia Vittoria’s Ant Whorton-Eales, ahead of Pyro’s Josh Files and Adam Bonham in sixth and seventh with Rob Boston completing the top eight.
James Dixon’s championship chances look to be in tatters now after a fairly dismal weekend so far, starting in qualifying with only ninth and eighth place starts for the Total Control Racing driver, which then became even more frustrating when he dropped places at the start with a poor getaway.
The race continued to be a frustrating one, and he spent the rest of the race trying to pass David Dickenson before following home his team-mate Nicholas Hamilton for a frustrating 10th place finish.
Mark Proctor finished down in an unspectacular 14th place, but took Masters Cup honours in doing so.
Hamilton meanwhile had a fabulous day when he qualified 13th for the opening race, and made his way past a number of cars including championship contender Dixon on his way to a season best of ninth for the younger brother of Formula 1 champion Lewis.
Colburn now suddenly moves to the top of the championship standings for the first time all year thanks to his first win, three points ahead of Smith and four ahead of Rivett.
However, the man that will be favourite to win the championship will be Rivett. He will start race two from pole position again, ahead of Wright, Smith, Packun and Goff, while Colburn will start down in a difficult sixth position to recover from.
Dixon could still win it, but will start only wighth on the grid and would need his three rivals to have a total disaster, while Goff is now completely out of contention for title glory after his race one retirement.
Standings heading into final race:
- James Colburn – 326
- Aron Smith – 323s
- Paul Rivett – 322
- James Dixon – 306
- Jack Goff – 272