Jamie Bond raced to his maiden Renault UK Clio Cup victory at Snetterton yesterday after championship rivals Jack Young and Max Coates had contact in the day’s opening round.
West Malling based Bond has rapidly become a rising star in the BTCC support series after making a stunning debut at Donington Park earlier in the year, and although already a champion in VW Cup, the Team Hard graduate has always known that the challenges at this level would require more than pace alone.
And with a virtuoso display of class, it should have been a case of double bubble for the Kent man in race 2, leading all the way from pole position, and setting fastest lap after fastest lap to finish first across the line, only to be handed a ten-second time penalty for jumping the start. It was a bitter blow, yet being classified fourth still rewarded him with the biggest points haul of the weekend, thereby seeing the gap to the championship leaders closed yet further.
The title race next heads to Thruxton (the fastest circuit on the calendar) in a fortnight’s time, and whilst having missed points from the opening two races, the abilty to drop ‘one score’ puts Bond ever closer to his rivals. It’s something that neither he nor those at the top of the table can now ignore. As he told me after his win: –
“Knowing that we were coming into Clios late in the day, and against some formidable opposition, our original plan was just to prove how competitive we could be, but now that we’re in this position (fourth in the championship, 51 points behind, but with eight races remaining, and a potential 224 points still to be fought for), then we’re going to give everything we can to close the gap and build momentum towards next year. Right now, we don’t know what that will be, but we’re talking to Tony (Gilham, Team Hard’s team principal) and will look to build on what we’ve already achieved.”