Team Pyro locked out the podium in Saturdays AirAsia Clio Cup race, led home by a lights to flag win for Jack Goff in a race that once again split the title race wide open. Josh Files claimed his best finish to date with second, and Aron Smith back from his BTCC adventure took third.
It was Goff who made the perfect start leading the pack down towards the hairpin for the first time, and looking to open up a lead in the early laps. Files’ start alongside him was a little slow, leaving him battling for position with title protagonists James Dixon and James Colburn as they too made their way into the hairpin. Briefly dropping back to fourth, Files planted a bold move around the outside and retook both Colburn and Dixon and moved back into second.
Goff and Files then dominated in the early laps, opening up a sizable advantage over third placed Colburn, before a safety car left them with it all to go through once more. As with the early laps, when the safety car released them Goff and Files proceeded to make a run for it re-establishing a gap back to third. The pair were in a class of their own as they brought it home, to cap a memorable day for each of them.
Speaking to BTCC Crazy after the race, Goff said; “We’ve had a bit of bad luck the last few races, through no fault of our own really but you’ve just got to take that on the chin. We’ve started the weekend off well with two pole positions in qualifying and finished it off with a race win.”
“I’m going each race by race now, trying to win every race i can and see where we are at the end of the year. If we can get as many points as we can and other people have bad weekends then all well and good. Just keep chipping away at it and hope it comes to us.”
The fan club was also out in force, making a lot of noise during the podium ceremony to celebrate his second win of the year.
Files, delighted with second told BTCC Crazy; ” I went into the first hairpin fourth, went round the outside and tucked in behind Jack and felt i was faster sometimes. He pulled away, i gained, he pulled away i gained.”
“Tomorrow i start fourth, i went from fourth to tuck in behind him so hopefully i can do it again tomorrow and this time come out with a win. I got the fastest lap of the race, so i think i’ve just got to keep going and hook it together for the whole race.”
To cap the performance, Files also collected the fastest lap of the race of 1:31.073.
Aron Smith rounded out the all Team Pyro podium in third. After a difficult start, Smith benefited from the safety car, quickly dispensing with James Colburn and moving into third. With his tyres going off and the pace of the front two his progress halted at third, but the points gains in the Championship are crucial for Smith, who’s deficit now sits at just two points going into Sunday’s race.
The safety car was brought out following contact between Jake Packun and Luke Wright. It was the Scuderia Vittoria driver who came off worst as he was forced to retire from the race with link arm problems.
Double champion Paul Rivett was out on a mission to overcome his qualifying woes, and by the end of the second lap had climbed up to ninth place. After the safety car period he continued his forwards march taking two further positions to finish seventh.
Afterwards he said; “I have never been so happy to finish seventh in my life.”
“That has got to be my best race of the season so far, to fight through the field like that and nearly be the fastest car on the grid is just great. It was just brilliant, clean racing in the Clio Cup today and that’s what we like to see, my jaw is starting to ache from smiling so much I’m that happy. I would like to thank Lumison BlueSquare Data Stancombe Vehicle Engineering for their efforts.”
Ant Whorton-Eales of Scuderia Vittoria, and Rob Boston of JHR Developments, both capped their already impressive 2011 debuts with a top ten finish each. Whorton-Eales took eighth, and Boston ninth after the pair were involved an an almighty battle towards the latter stages of the race.
Special mention is also due to the winner of the ‘Dream Drive’ Mark Gibbons. While finishing at the rear of the field, his pace has been steadily improving over the course of the weekend.
Round 13 results
1. Jack Goff Team Pyro 23m 27.898s G
2. Josh Files Team Pyro +0.892s G
3. Aron Smith Team Pyro +2.795 G
4. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments +4.344s G
5. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport +5.171s G
6. James Dixon Total Control Racing +5.615s G
7. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering +6.137s
8. Ant Whorton-Eales Scuderia Vittoria +11.041 G
9. Rob Boston JHR Developments +11.464s
10. Craig Currie Team Pyro +13.731s
Photo: Richard Devine