A TIE AT THE TOP AS MARZORATI, HAMMERTON WIN FIRST EVER RENAULT UK CLIO CUP JUNIOR RACES

Max Marzorati (Harrow) and Ethan Hammerton (Northallerton) drove into the Renault Sport history books at the weekend (Sat 9/Sun 10 Sept) by winning the first ever races of the all-new Renault UK Clio Cup Junior championship for 14 to 17 year olds at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit. Marzorati heads to the next two rounds at Brands Hatch in Kent (Sat 23/Sun 24 Sept) tying for the championship with Connor Grady (Smallfield).

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Marzorati, a protégé of British Touring Car Championship leader Ashley Sutton, started race one from fifth on the grid but skilfully took his chances when they came to move to the front. Despite intense pressure in the closing laps he kept his cool to flash across the line just ahead of Team Pyro team-mate Lorcan Hanafin (Guiseley), JamSport Racing’s Louis Doyle (Chorley) and WDE Motorsport’s Grady.

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The race actually saw the lead change hands five times five times and at the chequered flag less than a second covered the top four finishers, although Hanafin was later excluded from the results – thereby promoting Doyle and Grady to second and third on the podium.

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In race two it was Hammerton’s turn to take victory – just what he needed after suffering a retirement in race one. MRM Racing’s Jack Young (Belfast) initially held the lead from pole position but Hammerton was soon past and went on to build a winning margin of more than two seconds. Young took second place with Grady finishing in third again.

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Marzorati this time was only seventh meaning he and Grady leave Snetterton tying for the championship lead on 50 points each ahead of Young on 48, Doyle on 46 and JamSport’s Gus Burton (Colchester) on 44, the latter having also shown strong pace all weekend.

Thirty two points are awarded for a race win meaning it is all to play for when the title race moves on to Brands Hatch in two weeks. Ultimately the Champion will win a free entry into the senior Renault UK Clio Cup which races live on ITV4 alongside the BTCC – the prize is worth £18,000.

Meanwhile additional mention should also go to Hanafin and Young who qualified on pole position for the two races at Snetterton (the two grids were covered by just a second – particularly impressive given the Snetterton 300 circuit’s length). Similarly Marzorati and Hammerton set the fastest laps in the two races to score bonus points on top of their hauls for winning.

Hanafin’s race one pole position time of two minutes, 19.468 seconds and Marzorati’s race one fastest lap of 2m20.027s both establish records.