STREATHER SHOWS FINESSE TO WIN
Streather and returnee Pattison share the spoils in close races
Paul Streather first showed his potential when he almost won his second ever race in the category last year. Now he has proved that wasn’t a fluke result by winning the season opener.
Streather admitted he was under some pressure to match 2015’s eye-catching performance and he certainly did that in a typically close Renault Clio Cup opener.
The Finesse driver went around the outside of fellow front row starter Daniel Rowbottom into Paddock Hill Bend to take the lead. There was soon more drama with Rowbottom an unfortunate victim, catching the kerb on the inside and spinning across the pack. He was collected by Dan Zelos and ended a race full of promise in the gravel.
Streather meanwhile built a small lead over series returnee Lee Pattison, while former champions Paul Rivett and Mike Bushell squabbled behind. Bushell made a move on the WDE driver at Clearways but this was under yellows and he was handed a grid penalty for race two.
With Rowbottom and Zelos’s cars proving tough to shift the safety car was called, which closed the top four up and they never separated after that. Even a bit of rain failed to spread the leaders out.
Streather made a good restart and controlled the race to the flag, keeping a small gap over step brother-in-law Pattison.
“That was hard work,” said the winner, “the rain and the safety car weren’t really to my liking.”
Rivett managed to repass Bushell but was unable to challenge Pattison as the top four were separated by less than a second at the flag.
Race two followed a similar pattern as the same four drivers were again the class of the field. The first corner was less dramatic second time around as poleman Pattison maintained his advantage, while Streather repeated his race one manoeuvre to jump Zelos, who qualified an impressive third. Zelos later dropped down the order.
Streather then made his first mistake all weekend as he ran wide four laps later and gifted a place to Bushell. The 2014 champion set about passing
1 Paul Streather (Finesse Motorsport) 23m25.887s (71.14mph); 2 Lee Pattison (Team Cooksport) +0.468s; 3 Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport); 4 Mike Bushell (Team BMR with Pyro); 5 Charlie Ladell (WDE Motorsport); 6 Max Coates (Ciceley Motorsport). Fastest lap Ant Whorton-eales (Jam Sport) 52.874s (82.24mph). Pole Daniel Rowbottom (Team Ecomotive with DRM). Starters 23. 1 Pattison 17m03.665s (80.71mph); 2 Rivett +1.374s; 3 Bushell; 4 Streather; 5 Ladell; 6 Whorton-eales. FL WhortonEales 52.638s (82.61mph). P Pattison. S 23. Points (after 2/18 rounds) 1 Pattison 60; 2 Streather 54; 3 Rivett 53; 4 Bushell 45; 5 Ladell 40; 6 Whorton-eales 36.
Rivett, which allowed Pattison a small breathing space. Bushell made repeated attempts, but Rivett always had an answer, even when Bushell tagged him on the pit straight and sent him into a lurid slide.
This meant Pattison was able to take the win – Cooksport’s maiden triumph – from Rivett, Bushell and Streather.
“To come here and get a first and a second, I’m over the moon,” enthused Pattison. “I didn’t come back to just make up the numbers!”
One driver who was expected to be challenging those four was Ant Whorton-eales. He qualified on pole for both races but was demoted to last after being found to have noncomplying brakes. He stormed through the field to finish eighth and sixth in the races.
1 Florescu 50; 2 Pull 45; 3 Fielding 35; 4 Fewtrell 34; 5 Leeds 32; 6 Martins 28.
1 Dino Zamparelli (GT Marques) 30m06.042s (77.04mph); 2 Dan Cammish (Redline Racing) +4.346s; 3 Tom Sharp (IDL Racing); 4 Charlie Eastwood (Redline Racing); 5 Tom Oliphant (Team Redline); 6 Stephen Jelley (Team Parker Racing). CW John Mccullagh (Redline Racing); Tautvydas Barstys (Juta Racing). FL Zamparelli 47.316s (91.90mph). P Cammish. S 23.
1 Cammish 26m23.280s (90.63mph); 2 Zamparelli +6.176s; 3 Jelley; 4 Oliphant; 5 Sharp; 6 Eastwood. CW Sean Hudspeth (Parr Motorsport); Mark Radcliffe (Intersport). FL Zamparelli 47.292s (91.95mph). P Cammish. S 23.