Two superb action-packed Michelin Clio Cup Race Series contests at Thruxton delivered a familiar result with Chichester ace Luke Herbert once again emerging victorious.
Despite huge pressure in rounds four and five, the Westbourne Motorsport driver opened up an enhanced 39-point lead at the top of the race series standings ahead of team-mate Sam Randon (Ashbourne), who finished a very close second in round five and also posted a new lap record.
Intercity Racing’s Matt Allison (Norwich) pushed Herbert all the way in the first race of the weekend on Saturday – the event marking the former British Touring Car Championship and British GT racer’s long awaited return to competitive action – but Herbert was able to repel his much more experienced rival.
Qualifying on Saturday was Allison’s first competitive outing at the wheel of his Intercity Clio and he announced his welcome arrival in the championship in style, securing pole position for round four and second on the grid behind Herbert for round five.
Herbert, though, got the better launch at the start of race one and managed to edge ahead of Allison out of Allard to take a lead he would never relinquish. The points leader was, however, put under intense pressure throughout the ten laps with Allison particularly quick in the fast sections.
In round five on Sunday, Herbert again aced the start – this time leading into Allard from pole – as team-mate Randon moved up from third on the grid into second. Determined to make his fellow Westbourne racer work for the win, Randon pressured throughout but Herbert again made no mistakes and on the sprint to the line he took the win by just 0.197 seconds.
Herbert said: “Race one was tough. I got the jump at the start and Thruxton is quite an easy track to defend at if you can put the car in the right place, so I managed to hold Matt (Allison) off.
He’s a very good driver so it was great to race against him and get the result. Through the slower corners I managed to edge away but through the fast stuff, like Church, he was very rapid.
“I think race two came down to where we started and I was fortunate enough to be on pole, if Sam (Randon) had started where I did it could have been his win. It was a clean race, great fun, and now I’m really looking forward to Croft.”
Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire will host rounds six and seven of the series on July 11 and 12.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices with further support for the Road Series from Monster Sport Europe.
Provisional 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Race Series Driver Standings (after R5): 1 Luke Herbert, 156pts; 2 Sam Randon, 117; 3 Brett Lidsey/Andy Jordan, 111; 5 Paul Streather, 102; 6 Tom Barley, 82.
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