The new Scuderia Vittoria team enjoyed an encouraging debut weekend in the 2011 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup at Brands Hatch. After a tough first race, the team's drivers Matt Allison and Luke Wright both showed great pace in the weekend's second race, with the team narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
Race one saw Formula Renault BARC graduate Wright line up fourth, with former BTCC racer Allison one place behind, both less than 0.2s off pole. The race only latest two corners though, with Wright hit from behind at Druids and Allison getting caught up in the incident, both ending up retiring with identical steering-arm damage.
After the team repaired the cars overnight, both drivers hoped for a better run in race two. Wright, lining up fourth one again, made a great start and challenged for the lead into the first corner and ran in a podium position until a mistake around the halfway mark dropped him down the order, with him eventually finishing tenth.
A disappointed Wright said: “I just dropped the left-rear off the track and it dragged me off. It was an unfortunate error but you've got to look at the upsides: we've been very competitive.”
Allison started the race eighth and enjoyed a strong run, moving up to fifth before being promoted a place after a mistake by a rival ahead. He challenged for a podium but was unable to find a way past, finishing the race in fourth.
Allison commented: “That was much better, and it's great to finally get a result on board. It is nigh-on impossible to overtake on this circuit in a Clio because the braking zones are so small. With four or five laps to go I flicked my headlights on and Aron nearly locked up, but he kept it going! Our car was superb and on a bigger circuit we could have had a go for third, but I'm pleased with that, and most top drivers had one bad result so it's almost as if we've reset the points.”
Reflecting on the weekend, team director Danny Buxton added: “Luke had a mega weekend in terms of raw pace, and if it hadn't been for the incident he would have been P2 in race two. But we're all human and he will learn from this. We're massively encouraged and think he will be one of the finds of the season.
“Matt had less running before the season and is playing catch-up, but he battled well and brought it home. After yesterday's result he had to finish. He was quicker than the second and third guys in front but it's difficult to pass cars here, and he did the right thing in bringing it home.
“From a team point of view, the biggest compliment I can pay everyone is that it seemed as though we'd been doing this for years, rather than it being our first weekend. The team were fantastic. Matt's car only arrived on Wednesday, and they had late nights on Saturday to repair the damage. They did an amazing job.”