Dave Newsham led from lights to flag to win Round Three of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at Rockingham. Starting from pole, Newsham was able to pull away early on and despite being caught in the latter stages, he held on for his second victory of the season.
Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff joined Newsham on the front row after qualifying, with seventeen year old James Colburn third and Tordoff's team-mate Mike Robinson fourth. As the race started, Newsham was able to capitalise from his pole position, leading the pack as they headed into Deene Hairpin for the first time, followed by Tordoff and the quick starting Lee Pattison, who had jumped up from sixth on the grid into third. As they all emerged from the hairpin , the big winner was JHR Development's Fulvio Mussi, who had jumped up to five places into second place, while the big loser was Colburn, who slipped down to seventh by the end of the opening lap.
The next few laps saw the top three of Newsham, Mussi and Tordoff break away at the front of the field, leaving behind Robinson in fourth, closely followed by Pattison. A great battle was emerging behind, with Colburn leading a group of cars battling for sixth, including Elite Motorsport's Jake Packun. As the race reached halfway, Newsham pulled a small advantage at the front, with Tordoff beginning to pressurise Mussi behind. His pressure paid off, with Mussi running wide at the final chicane, allowing Tordoff to pull alongside along the straight. As they headed towards Deene, with Tordoff holding the inside line, Mussi tried to outbrake him into the hairpin in a bid to hold his place, but braked too late and ran wide, dropping down the pack in the process and freeing up Tordoff to chase down Newsham, with Robinson promoted up to third and Pattison still pushing him hard in fourth.
As the race entered its final stages, Newsham's tires began to fade, allowing Tordoff to catch up to within one second of the Team Pyro driver as they entered the final lap. Newsham was able to hold on though, crossing the line to take the win, as well as the Master's Cup honours. Tordoff crossed behind to take his third consecutive podium of the year and the Graduate Cup, while Robinson managed to hold off Pattison to gain his first podium of the season, with Westbourne Motorsport's Colburn rounding off the top five. Jeff Smith, Jake Packun, Jack Goff, James Dixon and David Dickenson rounded off the top 10, with Mussi finishing eleventh, a disappointing finish after running second for so long.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography