Sam Tordoff mastered the treacherous conditions to take victory in Round 17 of the 2010 Elf Renault Clio Cup with Michelin. Tordoff worked his way up from ninth on the grid to win around the new Silverstone Grand Prix in front of over 125,000 fans at the World Series by Renault meeting.
Tyre choice proved very tricky heading into the race, with rain beginning to fall half an hour before the race began. With the track not fully wet, just damp, and no clear sign whether the rain would continue, the teams were left with tough choices as to what tyre combination to choose. Therefore as the drivers took to the grid, there was a variety of combinations being used, with some on full wets, a mixture of slicks and wets, or full slicks.
Newly crowned 2010 Clio Cup Champion Dave Newsham lined up on pole, opting for full slicks. He got a good getaway to lead into Copse for the first time, with former double champion Paul Rivett slotting into second ahead of JHR Development's Lee Pattison. Behind, Tordoff, who had gambled on full wets hoping the rain would continue, was already worked his way through the field, moving up to six by the end of the first lap. Total Control Racing team mate James Dixon was going in the opposite direction though, contact on the first lap dropping him well down the field.
The rain began to increase over the opening few laps, creating problems for those on the slick tyres, leading to several early retirements, with TCR's Mike Robinson and Team Pyro's Jake Packun amongst those who saw their race over early. There were also some great battles emerging through the field, in particular a battle between Jack Goff and James Colburn for third place, with the latter coming out on top with Goff spinning into retirement at Luffield on lap three.
At the front, Pattison, on a mixture of slicks and wets, had nabbed the lead away from a struggling Newsham. Before he could get away at the front, a driver error saw him outbrake himself, allowing Rivett into the lead, with Team Pyro's Newsham also passing into second.
Rivett looked to build a lead at the front, but was pegged back by the introduction of the safety car, deployed to aid the recovery of some of the stricken cars off circuit. These included the car of Rob Gaffney, who was running strongly in fifth on the debut of his new team Meridian Motorsport, but contact by Jeff Smith caused him to retire on the spot.
A long run behind the safety car meant there was only two laps remaining as the race restarted, with Rivett leading away from Pattison, who had got ahead of Newsham just before its deployment, with Tordoff up to fifth and Smith recovering from his contact to stay in fifth.
As they approached the final lap, Tordoff quickly made his way past Newsham, who was trying hard on his slicks. His got past Pattison on his own accord before being gifted the lead, a mistake by Rivett seeing him clip the gravel trap, dropping him right down the order.
Tordoff romped home to take the win, his second of the season, in the process taking the Graduate Cup honours. Pattison took the Masters Cup honours in second, with Newsham holding on to third. Smith followed in fourth, with Darren Wilson fifth for 20ten Racing, a season's best result for both drivers. Westbourne Motorsport pair Colburn and Patrick Collins were next up, with Rivett and series returnee Stefan Hodgetts completing the finishers a lap down. Dixon took secured the fastest lap of the race, but was forced to retire near the end due to the damage received in his opening lap incident.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography