Renault Clio Cup 2017 Roundup
Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championship 2017 Highlights
Only in its first season of existence, the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Championships saw an impressive feat by all those who took part this year. Following the 25-year strong history, the Renault Clio Cup is a main fixture in Touring Car Racing. The recently formed junior championship enables 14-17-year-olds to develop their racing skills further, whilst competing for the title of Renault Clio Cup Junior Champion 2017.
Setting new standards in junior motor sport, the Renault Clio Cup Junior Championship is set to nurture young talent that has a definitive place within the motor sport marketplace across the globe. With the success of senior champions like Ant Whorton-Eales, there was much to look forward to as this year’s junior championship kicked off.
Eight races over four days saw the young drivers follow in the footsteps of stars like Andy Piraulx and Jason Plato, as they raced their way around three different tracks. Snetterton saw a breathtaking performance from each of the young hopefuls, with the top four drivers crossing the line all within one second of each other.
With an unfortunate start for Hammerton, who retired in the first-ever race, and an exclusion for Hanafin, the Clio Cup Junior Championship kicked off with a dramatic start. Oil slips and a few close calls made for a nail-biting performance, while each of the driver’s composure and professional was a testament to their mentors, their teams and themselves. Who could have predicted such an epic start to the Clio Cup Junior Championship?
There were plenty of knockbacks throughout, but it didn’t prevent any of the young drivers from achieving success. Even grid penalties didn’t stop any of the young drivers from delivering a performance to be proud of, especially Young, who went on to win the championship title.
Top three drivers
Position 3 – Max Marzorati (153 points)
Writing his name into Renault Sport history books, the 17-year-old from Harrow, Middlesex, kept his cool and drove his way to success, winning the first-ever race of the UK Renault Clio Cup Junior Championships. Setting the race’s fastest lap time of 2m20.027s, the Team Pyro driver, Max Marzorati said: “I’m so happy – this is a brilliant feeling. I had a poor start and that left me thinking that a podium would be a good result. But there was a lot going on and I just remained consistent and pounced when the opportunity presented itself.”
A regular in junior level karting, Marzorati’s remarkable win in the first race at Snetterton was short-lived, seeing him drop to seventh place in the second race. Despite having less experience than his rivals, the second weekend saw him pull back his victory, securing himself another win in Round 3.
Pembrey saw another successful performance from the young driver – a performance that was far from his karting days at Rye House – with a third win in Round 6. This left him in second position behind Jack Young, with only two more rounds to go.
Round 8 saw Marzorati fall behind due to damage received in an altercation earlier on in the race, making him slip back to fourth place during the last lap. Finishing in third place, the Pyro driver impressed all with his outstanding performance on the track, paving his way into the world of motor sport.
The young karting driver, sponsored by Renault Retail Group, has certainly made a name for himself, successfully competing against some of the most experienced junior touring car racers in motor sport.
Position 2 – Ethan Hammerton (159 points)
JamSport Racing driver, Ethan Hammerton, began the championship with an unfortunate incident, prevent him from finishing the race. Hammerton was forced to retire his car after sustaining damage to the right rear corner, which also affected fellow JamSport Racing driver, Gus Burton.
The 17-year-old from Northallerton brought it back in Round 2, securing first place and setting the fastest lap time of 2m20.476s. Hammerton’s near-perfect performance more than made up for his early retirement in race one. He said: “After the disappointment of earlier I am really pleased to bounce back and take a win – the team worked really hard in between the two races to fix the damage.”
Brands Hatch saw a steady performance from Hammerton in Round 3 and 4, coming in fifth and fourth place. However, it was Pembrey that saw the young JamSport driver excel, landing third place in both races.
Round 7 saw Hammerton finish in fourth place, but it was the last round where Hammerton really pulled it back. Crossing the line in second place, the 17-year-old secured himself position two in the final line-up. Ethan Hammerton delivered a worthy performance throughout the championship.
Position 1 – Jack Young (165 points)
Former 2011 British Super 1 Honda Cadet Champion, Jack Young raced his way to the top spot, securing his title of Renault UK Clio Cup Junior Champion 2017. Snetterton saw the 16-year-old from Belfast secure fifth place in the first-ever Clio Cup junior race, as rival Gus Burton stole fourth position. Round 2 witnessed yet another hair-raising performance by the young MRM driver, as he battled against Ethan Hammerton for first place, only to come second.
Young said: “We were battling with some understeer and I think my experience in the wet weather showed a little. I’m still happy to come away with a podium though and I think we have shown we’ve got the pace to run at the front going forward.”
Maintaining his place within the top five drivers in Round 3 and 4, Young fought his way to fourth and third place, beating rival driver Ethan Hammerton on both occasions. Round 5 saw the MRM driver take the lead, while second place was secured in Round 6.
Both Young and Marzorati picked up penalties at Pembrey, which made them drop two places on race one’s starting grid at the Brands Hatch title decider. Young, who had success at Pembrey, said: “The two-place drop on race one’s grid isn’t ideal but I don’t think it’ll be the single deciding factor.”
And true to his word, the grid penalty did not stand in his way. Young’s determination and outstanding performance allowed him to grab second place in Round 7 and third place in Round 8, winning him the title of Renault UK Clio Cup Junior 2017.
The 16-year-old champion commented: “The feeling is indescribable – I had a bit of a moment there with Max at the start of race two and then went off on some oil and thought it was all over. All I could do was charge as hard as possible and make clean moves on people as soon as I got up to them.”
Young’s prize is a free registration into the senior Renault UK Clio Cup, which is valued at £18,000.