JHR Developments Lee Pattison has claimed his maiden victory in the Elf Renault Clio Cup after coming out on top of a tight, hard but clean four way tussle for the lead around the 2.35 mile Thruxton airfield circuit.
Pole position for the second race went the way of forty-two year old Dave Newsham, the winner of the opening round of the season with second year driver Jake Packun joining the Highland racer on the front row, and the leading Graduate cup runner on the grid.
As part of the series overhaul, a new grid drop system has been implemented and David Dickenson was given a two place drop after picking up two penalty points for an incident during the first race.
As in race one, pole sitter Newsham made the most of his qualifying result as he made the best start and took the lead into Allard, the first corner. Behind Newsham, Pattison made a fast start which meant he got past the Graduate cup runners, Packun and Sam Tordoff.
Behind the top four, Mike Robinson had started a climb up the field as the series youngest driver in 2010, seventeen year old James Colburn slipped back to ninth at the end of the opening lap of twelve.
Up at the Complex on the second lap, Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff found his way back up to the podium finishing positions as he passed Packun for third, and the leading four drivers remained in the same order until the midway stage. Coming through Church, Pattison had clawed his way onto the bumper of the #4 Team Pyro Clio of Newsham, but the ex Scottish legends racer used his experience and closed the door.
Behind the quartet, the YRC sponsored JHR Developments car of Fulvio Mussi dropped out of a top five position after a spin at the fastest corner in British Motorsport, Church.
The subsequent laps saw a four Clio convoy for the lead, which appeared to have been resolved on lap ten as Pattison found a way past Newsham at Noble, before losing the lead back to the Highlander at Church, while the third place battle saw Packun find his way past Tordoff at the Club chicane.
The following lap saw the lead battle resolved. Newsham had a fuel surge which caused his Clio to lose power, this gave Pattison, Packun and Tordoff the opportunity to pass the forty-two year old and claim a podium finish each. Even with Newsham's fuel problem, the top four couldn't be separated.
The final lap didn't see any changes between the quartet and Pattison took his first win in the Clio Cup and JHR's first win of the season ahead of the Graduate cup winner Packun and Tordoff, with race one winner Newsham crossing the line fourth. At the line, 1.270s covered the top four; this proved that the crowds are in for an exciting season of Clio Cup action, even with the reduced grid size.
Packun set a new lap record en route to second place; his best ever finish in the Clio Cup, his best lap time being a 1m24.079s on lap four.
After the spin which Mussi suffered early into the twelve lap encounter, the JHR Developments driver was unable to climb up the field and crossed the line in thirteenth position, while Keatingsdown's Dickenson saw his weekend go from bad to worse after he was penalised for an incident with Colburn, relegating him to eleventh overall.
Speaking after the race, a delighted Pattison said: “I'm very happy with the win especially after a disappointing day on Saturday. In round two I was able to put pressure on Newsham particularly through the first complex where he seemed slower. I chose my moment and with a bit of luck I was able to grab the lead and stay there.”
For Packun, his winter driver coaching has paid off as he explains: “It's been a great start to the year for us and I'm delighted with my first podium in round one especially as I'm not strong in the wet. Over the winter BTCC driver Paul O'Neil has been coaching me and it's undoubtedly paid off and now I'm just looking forward to the next rounds.”
For Tordoff, he is looking for consistency as he aims for the 2010 title: “Pattison put up a good fight in race one and then after that it was touch and go between me and Dave. I was faster up to Noble but Dave was quicker after that. I just needed a few more laps. Round two was another good race and overall I'm really pleased with my consistency this weekend as that's what wins championships.”
Race one winner Newsham said: “It's been a good weekend for us and I'm pleased to start the season off with a win. In round one I had to keep one eye forward and one eye looking in my mirrors because Sam was driving superbly plus I was struggling a little from understeer. It was a great race and it's a shame I couldn't repeat it in round two which was hampered by a fuel surge.”
The next rounds of the 2010 Elf Renault Clio Cup take place at Rockingham, Northamptonshire on the 24/25 April.
Race Results Race Two
|1||5||Lee Pattison||JHR Developments||17:02.654s|
|2||47||Jake Packun||Elite Motorsport||17:03.392s||0.738s|
|3||44||Sam Tordoff||Total Control Racing||17:03.726s||1.072s|
|4||4||Dave Newsham||Team Pyro||17:03.924s||1.270s|
|5||22||Mike Robinson||Total Control Racing||17:09.864s||7.210s|
|6||2||Tom Carnaby||JHR Developments||17:10.223s||7.569s|
|7||1||Jeff Smith||Team Pyro||17:10.955s||8.301s|
|8||33||Jack Goff||Team Pyro||17:17.325s||14.671s|
|9||46||Robert Gaffney||Westbourne Motorsport||17:17.659s||15.005s|
|10||9||James Colburn||Westbourne Motorsport||17:21.741s||19.087s|
|11||88||David Dickinson||Team Pyro||17:21.983s||19.329s|
|12||18||Patrick Collins||Westbourne Motorsport||17:22.337s||19.683s|
|13||23||Fulvio Mussi||JHR Developments||17:39.189s||36.535s|
|14||10||Darren Wilson||20Ten Racing Limited||17:48.519s||45.865s|
|15||15||Matthew Munson||Stancombe Vehicle Engineering||17:54.480s||51.826s|
Standings after two of twenty races:
Bold – Masters/Italics – Graduate Cup
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography