James Dixon is still in the hunt for the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK title after two top-six finishes for Scuderia Vittoria in Rounds Five and Six at Thruxton.
Dixon and his four Scuderia Vittoria team-mates were greeted with horrendous conditions throughout the Thruxton weekend, with heavy rain and high winds affected most of their sessions. The opening race saw Dixon rise up the order to take sixth, before the Kent-based racer stormed through the field to take fourth place and with it the race's fastest lap, in the process keeping himself fourth in the championship standings.
Commenting on the second race, Dixon said: “I was driving to the conditions early on, but by halfway through I thought it was actually possible to win it. I grabbed some balls from somewhere! After that, I fired it up the inside of a few people to get a good result.
“I'm actually really happy to get the fastest lap. It showed we had the pace all weekend, if only I'd managed to put my sector times together in qualifying to nail a good grid position. To come from eighth and tenth on the grid to get those results and some decent points, it shows that all we need is to start from further up the grid.”
Teenager Luke Wright finished just behind Dixon in the opening race and was leading his more experienced team-mate in the second race before he went off circuit when his windscreen started to steam up, the Dorset-based racer deciding to retire to the pits.
The team's three One Call Insurance-backed Scottish driver's all coped well in the tough conditions. Vic Covey scored his best result to date with a fine eighth in race two, following on from a thirteenth in race one. Finlay Crocker ran well in the opener before running off track, but made amends in race two with an eleventh place finish and his second Masters Cup victory. Ronnie Klos was leading the Masters class in race one before he was forced to retire with suspension damage, but claimed third in class in the second race.
Team director Danny Buxton said: “We haven't had an overall win or a podium, but I feel that this weekend has been really positive. In terms of the championship we're just about still in there pitching, and James did a great job. If only he could have nailed qualifying – if he'd got his best sectors together he would have been on the front row.
“Even so, we've not shown our true potential with James yet. He was thrown in at the deep end with a team that was new to him on the eve of the season, but approaching the second phase of the season he's only just over a race win off the points lead. Knowing his ability, I'm looking to James to unleash his attack, and I certainly would put money on a One Call-backed Clio winning the championship.
“Luke would have been up there on the grid, but he had misting-up problems in qualifying and in the race. This particular car is one he hadn't driven before in the wet and we just couldn't stop this problem happening. But he did a good job in the dry race to bring it home behind his team-mate.
“Vic had a great weekend and showed fantastic development. I'm really pleased with how he went on a track where he had such a big accident in pre-season testing. I feel he has made a big step forward and has crossed a bridge psychologically with his tremendous performance.
“Finlay made a fantastic save in the first race – he nearly had the mother and father of all accidents! – and we're really pleased with his drive from 22nd to 11th overall in race two for his Masters win. He overtook so many cars and, if he can qualify in the top twelve, which we know he's capable of, he can finish in the top six.
“Ronnie made a top effort – with a few laps to go he made it five of our cars in the top elevenbefore he went off briefly, and his fastest lap ahead of the top guys shows he's got a lot of potential. He hasn't raced for eight years, so bearing that in mind he's well ahead of the schedule of progress we set for him.
“Our three Scots are all driving each other on, and their competitive spirit is making for some exciting times for us! But as far as the conditions at Thruxton were concerned, I do not envy any of those guys. In race two it was the worst conditions I've ever seen. My advice was that it was going to be a race of attrition, and that to stay on track would gain them places. I'm so proud that, apart from Luke through no fault of his own, they all brought it to the finish.”