Finesse Motorsport team principal Neil Giddings believes a difficult qualifying session for his trio of Renault UK Clio Cup contenders left them battling against the odds in the two races at Thruxton.
Alongside championship contender Paul Streather and recent new recruit Daniel Rowbottom, the team brought back Jake Giddings for a one-off return to the championship, knowing the importance of teamwork in getting a crucial tow in qualifying around the high-speed Hampshire circuit.
Unfortunately their plans didn’t come together as intended, with all three drivers unable to breach the top ten – Giddings the quickest in eleventh, with Streather a position lower and Brands Hatch pole-sitter Rowbottom only fifteenth.
That set the tone for a tough pair of races for the trio, with Streather emerging with a best result of sixth at his ‘bogey’ circuit, though a lowly fifteenth in race one after early contact has dropped him from second to fifth in the championship standings.
Rowbottom fought his way to thirteenth in the opener, but saw his hopes of a top ten in race two derailed when damage to the left-rear of his EcoMotive-backed Clio forced him to pit into retirement at the end of lap three.
Giddings’ found himself in the thick of the midfield action at the bottom of the top ten throughout the races, the British GT regular picking up eleventh in the opener, before looking set for a top ten in race two until a fuel surge problem led to him being shuffled back to thirteenth.
“It wasn’t the weekend we wanted or planned. Qualifying spoiled the meeting” said Neil Giddings.
“We always knew it was a circuit Paul wasn’t looking forward to, but we had hoped to have a much better run in qualifying – it just didn’t go to plan so we ended up a long way further back on the grid than we should with all three cars.
“After that, it was all about damage limitation really but Paul made some big steps forward for race two and sixth was a great result. Dan was really unfortunate with the damage he picked up in the second race, it’s what happens in the pack.
“Jake wasn’t able to show what he’s capable of really. He had a problem with the fuel in race two but his pace was good.”