Dave Newsham proved he is the man to beat in the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin after winning Round Four at Rockingham, his third victory of the season. After earning his fourth consecutive podium in qualifying, Newsham secured another lights to flag win – though it didn't all go to plan.
The Team Pyro driver was once again joined on the front row by Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff, with Mike Robinson and James Colburn making up row two. As the lights went out, Newsham made a textbook start to lead the field as they headed towards Deene Hairpin for the first time. It wasn't as plain sailing for Tordoff alongside him though, a clutch problem leaving him struggling to get off the line and losing numerous places in the process. This promoted Robinson and Colburn up to second and third respectively, with JHR Development's Fulvio Mussi making a good start, moving up from eighth into fourth. After dropping down the field, Tordoff was eager to quickly regain the places he lost, but his eagerness proved to be his downfall, with damage picked up from an ambitious overtake causing him to retire on the first lap, a disappointing DNF for a title contender.
As the race entered its early stages, Newsham began to pull away at the front, with Robinson beginning to get caught by Colburn, despite him having to fend off the advances of Mussi behind. Behind them, a great battle was emerging between Team Pyro's Jack Goff and race winner at Thruxton, Lee Pattison, with the JHR Development driver finally getting the upper hand, moving into the top five. As the race headed towards the halfway stage, it was all about to change up front. After building up a good lead at the front, Newsham suffered damage to his exhaust after running over a kerb, causing a slight loss in power and fumes to begin entering the cockpit. This left him having to move onto the defensive, with the task of trying to hold onto his lead, which was being eroded lap by lap by the chasing pack. In that chasing pack, the man on the move was Lee Pattison, who after dispatching Goff earlier in the race, snuck past his team mate Mussi into fourth place at Pif-Paf and went about chasing down a podium place.
With the race moving towards it’s end, Robinson in second moved closer and closer to Newsham ahead, but was unable to force a way past before the finish, leaving Newsham to cross the line for his second win of the weekend, winning the Masters Cup honours again in the process. With Robinson in second, it was left to seventeen year old James Colburn to fill the final podium place in third, his first ever Clio Cup podium finish. His impressive, clean drive also won him the Graduate Cup honours and the ELF/Atol Driver of the Event award. Pattison, who secured the fastest lap of the race, came home fourth, with Mussi rounding off the top five. Behind him, Jeff Smith, Jack Goff, Jake Packun, James Dixon and Robert Gaffney completed the top ten.
As we move on to Rounds Five and Six around the Grand Prix Circuit at Brands Hatch, on 1st/2nd May, Newsham leads the championship with a healthy 24 point lead over Lee Pattison, with just 4 points separating Mike Robinson, Jake Packun and Sam Tordoff behind. In the entrant's championship, Team Pyro has a slender 2 point lead over Total Control Racing, with JHR Developments in third.