Forty-two year old Scottish racer Dave Newsham took the first win of the 2010 Clio Cup campaign with victory from pole position. It wasn't a comfortable victory for the Team Pyro driver – despite leading every lap of the race he was watching his mirrors as Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff kept Newsham within sight.
The 2010 Championship has seen a number of changes introduced to spice up the on track action, with a new Masters and Graduate class, a longer first race of the weekend and a shorter qualifying session.
Fifteen cars took to the grid for the start with the flying Highlander Newsham taking the first pole position of the season and fellow Masters class runner Lee Pattison (JHR Developments) starting second.
Behind the front two, a quartet of Graduate Cup runners lined up, headed by the rapid Tordoff looking to build on his 2009 race wins. All fifteen competitors took to the track on wet tyres after torrential rain.
The opening lap saw Newsham defend from Pattison as they rounded the first corner at Allard, closely followed by the chasing pack led by Tordoff, who had jumped Jake Packun off the line to sit in third place.
Behind the leading quartet, the series returnee Fulvio Mussi gained five places on the first lap having ended the twenty minute qualifying session down in eleventh place.
Up at the front Newsham, Pattison, Tordoff and Packun were starting to make a break from their pursuers, with seventeen year old James Colburn leading the pursuing pack. Up at the front, Tordoff was starting to apply pressure to Pattison, thus providing Newsham with an opportunity to pull a gap on the trio behind.
Through Noble side by side on lap three Tordoff showed his determination to pass, successfully completing the move on the fourth lap. The Loughborough University student push on with his head down chasing Newsham, leaving Pattison under attack again, this time from Packun.
With Pattison and Packun delaying each other over the battle for the final step of the podium, this gifted Colburn a chance to close up and join in the party. On the eighth lap of the race, any one of six cars could have been in third place with Packun and Colburn both successfully passing Pattison for third and fourth respectively.
Meanwhile, the battle for the lead was intensifying as a flying Tordoff was closing on Newshams tail, heading onto lap twelve of fourteen the gap between Newsham and Tordoff was 0.185s.
The chasing pack had fallen back by over ten seconds, leaving two for the win, with Tordoff trying looking for every opportunity to pass the experienced Scotsman. The duo went wheel-to-wheel around the last half of the final lap, Newsham would come out on top by less than four tenths of a second, securing maximum points with the fastest lap of 1m32.067s set on lap 4.
The returning Mussi also managed to find a way past front row starter Pattison finishing inside the top five after a recovery drive to be proud of.
The first Masters Cup win went the way of the race winner, Newsham, while the Graduate Cup win went to runner up Tordoff. Packun completed the podium for the first race of the twenty race campaign, this being his maiden Clio Cup podium finish.
|1||4||Dave Newsham||Team Pyro||21:43.857s|
|2||44||Sam Tordoff||Total Control Racing||21:44.252s||0.395s|
|3||47||Jake Packun||Elite Motorsport||21:55.144s||11.287s|
|4||9||James Colburn||Westbourne Motorsport||21:55.636s||11.779s|
|5||23||Fulvio Mussi||JHR Developments||21:56.562s||12.705s|
|6||5||Lee Pattison||JHR Developments||22:00.830s||16.973s|
|7||2||Tom Carnaby||JHR Developments||22:01.033s||17.176s|
|8||22||Mike Robinson||Total Control Racing||22:01.834s||17.977s|
|9||33||Jack Goff||Team Pyro||22:02.402s||18.545s|
|10||88||David Dickinson||Team Pyro||22:03.015s||19.158s|
|11||1||Jeff Smith||Team Pyro||22:03.211s||19.354s|
|12||46||Robert Gaffney||Westbourne Motorsport||22:07.889s||24.032s|
|13||18||Patrick Collins||Westbourne Motorsport||22:13.878s||30.021s|
|14||10||Darren Wilson||20Ten Racing Limited||22:35.736s||51.879s|
|15||15||Matthew Munson||Stancombe Vehicle Engineering||22:53.594s||1:09.737s|
Bold – Masters Cup / Italics – Graduate Cup
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photogaphy