Maiden Clio Cup win for Lidsey
Maiden Clio Cup win for Lidsey

Renault UK Clio Cup star Brett Lidsey produced a simply stunning display at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, to deliver his first ever race victory in the Renault Clio Cup and a sensational double pole position in qualifying.

Northfleet driver Lidsey, of course, thought he had claimed his maiden Clio Cup win at Thruxton in Hamsphire last month until a debateable post-race penalty dropped him down the order. This time, though, there were no such issues for the MRM driver as he led round 15 from lights-to-flag.

After storming to pole position in qualifying on Saturday morning, Lidsey made no mistakes at the start of race one later in the afternoon and led each of the 18 laps to chalk-up his breakthrough success to rapturous celebrations. 

In round 16 on Sunday, starting from pole once again, the Kent sportsman led early on and while edged back to third place as the action wore on there was nothing to split the lead trio as rain began to make its presence felt. With just a handful of laps to run, though, contact to Lidsey’s No.12 Clio led to a galling retirement and cost him the chance of an all-but-certain Silverstone podium double.

Due to the lost points, Lidsey remains fourth in the championship standings ahead of the season finale at his ‘home’ track – Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit – a couple of weeks from now where he needs to close a 22 point gap if he is to achieve the top three series finish he craves. 

“I’m over the moon to have won, and to get double pole as well”, said the Liftout, GHR Scaffolding Ltd, GPL Projects Ltd, Certus Security, Dornack, Taylor Made Decals, MS Motorsport and MSY Grab Hire & Mini Digger Hire supported racer, “I was really happy with my pace all weekend and in the first race I was still able to control it at the front, I concentrated hard on not making mistakes.

“Obviously I got the win at Thruxton but it was taken away, so it’s great to prove we belong at the front and I’m now officially a Renault UK Clio Cup race winner. I was gutted with what happened in race two, it was a racing incident but that did cost me another podium and I was confident my pace was better than Jack [Young] and Max [Coates] so another win was possible.”

Pre-event practice on Friday, 27th September, was impacted by wet weather and Lidsey set the pace in session one with a lap of 1m06.335 seconds on a damp track. In worse conditions in session two, the MRM racer was a competitive sixth fastest in 1m09.227 seconds.

Qualifying on Saturday morning was dry and Lidsey continued to deliver stunning pace, a time of 1m04.111 seconds (92.11mph) securing the 28-year-old his second career Clio Cup pole position and second of the season, shading MRM team-mate Jack Young by a mere 0.048 seconds.

With his second fastest time of 1m04.220 seconds (91.95mph) around the 1.64-mile National Circuit, Lidsey also bagged pole for race two of the weekend to make it three grid-topping successes in 2019 by just 0.024 seconds from Young again. 

Making a clean start to round 15 later in the day, Lidsey maintained the lead into Copse and performed impressively under extreme pressure from Young and Max Coates. During the first third of the race there was nothing to separate the lead trio but when Coates passed Young on lap eight, Lidsey was able to begin edging clear.

Almost doubling his lead within a lap, the MRM driver was 1.6 seconds to the good by the end of lap 11 and he kept a similar buffer to the chasing pack for the remainder of the 18 lap contest to seal a fantastic, popular and very richly deserved victory.

Rain returned to Silverstone on Sunday, but the track was largely dry by the time the second Clio Cup race got underway around lunchtime. Light rain, though, did begin to fall as the cars completed the two formation laps. 

Lidsey made a textbook launch from pole to lead through Copse and, as was the case on Saturday, he had to soak up huge pressure from team-mate Young. At the end of lap two, Young squeezed inside the No.12 Clio at Luffield to grab the lead but Lidsey refused to relent and although forced wide at Copse on lap three, after some contact, and at Becketts too he held his ground.

Momentarily moving back ahead into Brooklands on the third tour, Young then had the line for Luffield and so sliced back through. Sticking with the sister MRM car, Lidsey mounted attack after attack over the next couple of laps but at Luffield on the fifth tour Coates nosed alongside Lidsey to steal second.

With nothing to split the lead trio, Lidsey kept the pressure on Coates and as the podium contenders battled the pack behind edged closer and closer – just as the rain started to fall again. With only 0.4 seconds splitting the trio at the end of lap 10, Lidsey looked around the outside into Becketts on lap 11 but was edged onto the grass on the exit and so remained third.

Absolutely nose-to-tail into lap 15, Lidsey got alongside Coates out of Becketts and was poised to try and take second into Brooklands but his hopes of fighting for another possible victory, and an all but certain podium, were ended when he was smashed out of the race. 

Contact to Coates’ Clio from Jade Edwards as they headed into the left-hander led to the former’s car ricocheting into Lidsey, all three spinning off on the outside and the resulting damage meaning retirement to the pits for Lidsey with his Clio sustaining a bent rear beam and front steering arm.

“Even though race two was really disappointing how it ended, especially when we were in such a good position, the confidence is there now after the win – I know I can do it and that’s made a huge difference”, said Lidsey, “We’ll need a bit of luck at Brands if we’re to get third in the championship, but I’m really looking forward to it and confident we can do a good job there.” 

Images courtesy of www.pspimages.co.uk

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