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Clarke closes on Cullen in battle to top Autosport National Driver Rankings

James Clarke has become the latest driver to almost grab top spot in the Autosport National Driver Rankings as the club racing season enters its final events.

James Clarke

James Clarke

Steve Jones

Clarke was the driver to beat for much of the Clubmans Sports Prototype campaign but a tricky final round at Brands Hatch in September hampered his bid to head Autosport's winners' table.

However, he was back in action at the Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone last weekend, dominating the Pumpkin Smash Race in his regular Clubmans Phantom PR22 to register his 16th success of the year.

He then drew level with table-topper Michael Cullen after being the first of the Janet Cesar class cars (Formula Fords built between 1982 and 1998) in the final of the WHT itself in a Van Diemen RF90.

While there were only three starters from that division, the unique nature of the knockout event and the fact Clarke had defeated strong class opposition to make it into the final against more modern machinery means it also counts towards his tally.

But, his two class successes compared to Cullen's one means Clarke rises from seventh to second in the rankings and the Irishman just maintains his lead.

Also achieving Janet Cesar glory in his RF91 was Callum Grant. He won an entertaining historic pre-final on Saturday and headed the class in the second WHT heat to climb two spots into eighth place.

Callum Grant

Photo by: Steve Jones

Callum Grant

Two other drivers inside the top 10 also added to their totals this week, but did not gain any positions.

Autosport was informed of a missing victory for Mazda MX-5 star Aidan Hills in the Trackday Championship at Anglesey in May when a change of driver had not been recorded on the results sheet. Nevertheless, Hills remains in sixth on the leaderboard.

Daire Flock also wrapped up the Junior Saloons title at Brands Hatch last weekend, adding a 14th victory to his tally, but Grant's improvement means the Citroen Saxo racer actually falls a position to ninth.

Further back, two drivers have joined the top-50 table for the first time this week. Jack Parker is in 27th spot after three Legends triumphs at Brands, while Rory Smith won the fourth Hayes heat - to rise to 41st - before being taken out in a semi-final clash that cost him the chance to improve further.

Just two circuit racing events are now scheduled in the 2023 season but there is still time for some major changes to the table as the first eight drivers are separated by only two victories.

Autosport's most successful national racers so far in 2023

Pos Driver (Car) Overall wins Class wins Total
1 Michael Cullen (Raw Stryker/Ford Fiesta ST/Austin Mini Cooper S/Lotus Cortina) 16 1 17
2 James Clarke (Phantom PR22/Van Diemen RF90) 15 2 17
3 Ryan McLeish (Legends Ford Coupe) 16 0 16
4 Freddie Slater (Ginetta G40 Junior) 16 0 16
5 Lucas Romanek (Van Diemen JL13) 16 0 16
6 Aidan Hills (Mazda MX-5 Mk3/Ginetta G40 GT5) 14 2 16
7 Dan Silvester (Toyota MR2 Mk2/Honda Civic) 5 11 16
8 Callum Grant (Merlyn Mk20A/Van Diemen RF91) 13 2 15
9 Daire Flock (Citroen Saxo VTR) 14 0 14
10 Ravi Ramyead (Ginetta G56 GTA) 13 0 13
11 Steve Foden (Mazda MX-5 Mk1) 12 0 12
12 Ash Sutton (Ford Focus ST) 12 0 12
13 Stewart Black (Legends Ford Coupe) 12 0 12
14 Luke Reade (Ginetta G56 GT4) 12 0 12
15 Nick White (Ginetta G56 GTA) 12 0 12
16 Jonathan Lovell (Porsche Boxster S) 11 1 12
17 Elliot Lettis (Peugeot 107) 11 0 11
18 Graham Fennymore (Reynard SF81) 11 0 11
19 Jake Hill (BMW 330e M Sport/Nissan Primera GT/Ford Capri III 3.0S) 11 0 11
20 Steve McDermid (MG ZR 170/MG ZR 190) 11 0 11
21 Jason West (BMW M3 E46) 11 0 11
22 Matthew Hyde (AHS Dominator) 10 1 11
23 Bryan Bransom (BMW M3 E46) 9 2 11
24 Peter Barrable (Legends Ford Coupe) 9 2 11
25 Mathieu Gauthier-Thornton (Phantom P94) 0 11 11
26 James Lay (Radical SR3) 10 0 10
27 Jack Parker (Legends Ford Coupe/Legends Ford Sedan) 10 0 10
28 Dan Zelos (Mini Cooper JCW) 10 0 10
29 Andrew Graham (Triumph TR8/MGB) 10 0 10
30 Tom Mills (Tatuus F4-TO14) 10 0 10
31 Steven Larkham (Radical PR6) 10 0 10
32 Phil Wright (Honda Civic EP3) 10 0 10
33 Samuel Harrison (Brabham BT21B/Reynard SF79/Brabham BT5) 9 1 10
34 Gordon Duncan (Radical PR6) 9 1 10
35 Scott Parkin (Volkswagen Golf TDI/Audi TTCR) 2 8 10
36 David Drinkwater (BMW Compact) 0 10 10
37 Andrew Young (MGC GT) 0 10 10
38 Freddie Chiddicks (Caterham 7 270R) 9 0 9
39 Michael Gibbins (MCR S2n) 9 0 9
40 Shaun Traynor (Toyota MR2 Roadster) 9 0 9
41 Rory Smith (Medina Sport JL18/Ralt RT4) 9 0 9
42 Stephen Berry (Mini Cooper S) 9 0 9
43 Neil Fowler (MGB GTV8) 9 0 9
44 Stewart Place (Peugeot 205 GTI) 9 0 9
45 Charles Hall (Mittell MC-41R) 9 0 9
46 Jordan Kelly (Van Diemen RF06) 9 0 9
47 Cameron Fenton (Global GT Light) 5 4 9
48 Gary Prebble (Honda Civic/SEAT Leon Cupra 20v T) 2 7 9
49 Graham Moore (GMS Fireblade) 2 7 9
50 Theo Micouris (Radical SR1) 0 9 9

All car races in UK and Ireland are included except qualification/repechage, consolation and handicap races. No races in other countries.

Class wins are only counted when there are at least six starters in the class, unless it is part of a multi-stage event where six or more have taken part in earlier heats that feed into a semi-final or final.

Only classes divided by car characteristics are included. Classes divided by driver characteristics such as ability, professional status, age, experience (for example rookie or Pro-Am classes) are not included. Each race counts only once, so an overall winner’s class win is not added.

Where there is a tie, overall wins take precedence. Where there is still a tie, average grid size for a driver’s wins determines the order.

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