Silverware for Westborne at season opener

Silverware for Westborne at season opener

Silverware for Westborne at season opener

Worthing-based team take home first silverware of the new campaign courtesy of James Colburn.

Westbourne Motorsport opened their Renault UK Clio Cup title assault with a podium in the opening race of the season at Brands Hatch last weekend [7-8 April].

Returning to the UK’s most competitive single-make category for another full season campaign with 2011 runner-up James Colburn and BRDC Rising Star James Dorlin at the wheel, both cars made their intentions clear from the get-go in qualifying.

Both had enjoyed stints at the top end of the timesheets, but a red flag with six minutes to run hampered their final run on the new-for-2018 Michelin tyre, preventing them from improving on fifth (Dorlin) and seventh (Colburn) in a tightly packed 18-car field.

Regardless, Colburn cut his way through to third during the opening exchanges in the weekends first contest, before capitalising on a duel ahead between Max Coates and Sam Osbourne to pass the pair of them at the end of the Cooper Straight and take second place at the chequered flag.

James Dorlin was put sideways into Paddock Hill Bend on the opening tour of the circuit and did well to recover and claim a top-ten finish, highlighting the unrewarded pace on board the #32 machine.
For Sundays race – which benefited from the attention of a capacity crowd trackside at the Kent venue and the watchful eyes of many more through ITV4’s live television coverage – Dorlin would line up an improved third courtesy of consistently quick lap times in qualifying, with Colburn behind in sixth.

It proved to be a race to forget, with Colburn forced into retirement early on with mechanical maladies, and Dorlin forced out into the gravel in avoidance at the first corner. The latter would fight back to secure a second points finish of the weekend, but chances of silverware had been spoilt.

Nevertheless, the team heads in optimistic mood to the next event at Donington Park in Leicestershire in three weeks’ time [28-29 April].

James Colburn said, “Overall, we have a lot of positives to take from this weekend. Scoring a podium finish at the season opener is a good statement of intent, it highlights the performance in the car and fills us with optimism for the year ahead.

“Obviously the second race wasn’t ideal, but when you take the dropped score into account, it could mean very little come the business end of the season. From hereon in we need to be in attack mode every weekend and push for every opportunity to take points away from our rivals.

“We win and we lose together as a team, and we’ve learnt plenty this weekend that’ll serve us well in the races ahead. On a personal note, it’s great to open the new season with a podium finish – hopefully the first of many in 2018.”

James Dorlin said, “We started off the weekend very strongly, so it’s unfortunate the results didn’t follow in the races. Regardless of that, we’ve learnt a lot this weekend and the bad luck has only doubled my motivation to come back out at Donington Park even stronger, and with a clear mindset – putting up a serious fight for the championship.

“Thanks to Westbourne Motorsport and all my loyal sponsors for this weekend, it’s been useful to see where we stack up against the opposition, and the positive news is that we seem to be in for a good year ahead.”

Image credit: Jakob Ebrey