Dave Newsham continued his great season with victory in Round 5 of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at Brands Hatch. Newsham dominated the race from start to finish, picking up his fourth win of the season and stretching his lead at the top of the championship.
The Team Pyro driver started on pole position, as he has done for every race this season so far, with Sam Tordoff alongside him and Mike Robinson and James Colburn behind on row two. As the race began, Newsham made the jump to lead the field into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time. Tordoff followed close behind, with a poor start dropping Robinson down the field, promoting Colburn into third. As the pack raced round the first lap, a mistake by Total Control Racing's Alistair Barclay left him stuck in the gravel at Stirling's Bend, resulting in the first safety car of the season. A quick clear-up operation allowed to safety car to come back in after just two laps, extending the race to 14 laps in total.
Newsham made a good restart, pulling away from the cars of Tordoff, Colburn and Gaffney behind. A fight was on for fifth place though, with Elite Motorsport's Jake Packun moving alongside Mussi as they entered Sheene Curve. Mussi wasn't going to give up his position though, with the two running side by side all the way to the start-finish straight. As the entered Paddock, they had been joined by Robinson, Tom Carnaby and Jack Goff behind. The five car group battled it out over the next lap, with Mussi emerging still in fifth place, with Robinson sneaking past Packun into sixth and Goff passing Carnaby for eighth.
Back at the front of the field, Newsham was pulling away, with Tordoff behind unable to make inroads into his lead. The battle at the edge of the podium places was still strong though; with fourth place Rob Gaffney getting out of shape around Graham Hill Bend, forcing Mussi to swerve in avoidance, which allowed Packun behind to sneak through into fifth place. Packun then went on the offensive to try and get past Gaffney ahead, but as they entered the final lap, he pushed too hard, braking late at Druids and ending his race in the gravel.
As the chequered flag dropped, Newsham crossed the line five seconds clear to win the race, along with the Masters Cup honours and the fastest lap of the race. Tordoff followed in second, winning the Graduate Cup honours in the process, with seventeen year old Colburn coming in third, his second consecutive podium in the series. Gaffney held on to finish fourth, with Mussi fifth and Robinson, Carnaby, David Dickenson, Lee Pattison and Patrick Collins rounding off the top ten.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography