The AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK heads to Cheshire this weekend for Rounds Seven and Eight of the 2011 season at Oulton Park, with the championship leader at the end of the weekend receiving a special prize courtesy of the title sponsors.
The driver topping the points after the meeting will win a holiday for two to Kuala Lumpur from AirAsia, with the airline also offering the chance for two lucky fans to win flights to the same destination. To have a chance of winning, fans have to email email@example.com stating which car has an AirAsia flight destination on its windscreen banner rather than the usual AirAsia branding.
The man most likely to be jetting off appears to be Lumison BlueSquare Data driver Paul Rivett, who has taken five podiums in six races this season. Hoping to chase down the former double champion will be Total Control Racing's James Dixon, who currently lies 21 points adrift with two wins to his name this season.
Dixon said: “I've been quick at Oulton Park before, so I'll be going all out. I need to get a good result and be on the podium at least, so that's the target.”
Hoping to support Dixon will be his TCR team-mates Tom Grice, Mark Proctor and Nicolas Hamilton. Grice will hope to add to his maiden podium finish at Thruxton, while Hamilton is looking to extend his run of points finishes. For Proctor, the weekend has increased significance, as he returns to the circuit where he had his career threatening crash in 2009.
Third in the championship heading to Cheshire is Aron Smith. The Team Pyro driver returned to the series this season and took a sensational double win at Thruxton last time out, his first Clio Cup successes in over two years.
Smith said: “I'm really looking forward to Oulton Park and hope I can carry over my performance from Thruxton. It's not as fast as Thruxton, but it's another real drivers track because the barriers are so close which makes it feel as if it is as fast as Thruxton. I've got good momentum now so I hope I can carry it on to Oulton – I'll be going flat out all the way!”
Behind him in the points is Get On Track Development's Jake Packun, who heads to his local circuit hoping to add to his podium finishes at Brands Hatch and Donington Park in front of a large home support.
Packun commented: “Oulton Park's my local circuit and I do my Get On Track Developments work there, so I'm hoping for plenty of support and also some good success. It's a great track.”
Also looking for success will be Westbourne Motorsport's James Colburn, who picked up his maiden podium at Thruxton, before topping the recent official series test at Snetterton and JHR's Lee Pattison, who picked up a podium at Oulton twelve months ago and is hoping to repeat the feat and improve on his current position of ninth in the points.
Pattison concluded: “I should be quick at Oulton and it's a circuit I really enjoy. Lets see what happens.”
A team hoping for a real upturn in fortunes at Oulton is Clio Cup newcomers Scuderia Vittoria, who had a disastrous weekend at Thruxton. Matt Allison was forced to retire after incidents in both races, while team-mate Luke Wright was caught up in an accident in race one that ruled him out of the remainder of the weekend, leaving both outside the top ten in the championship.