Matt Allison converted pole position into victory in Round Nine of the 2011 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Croft. Allison managed to avoid all sorts of incidents behind him to cruise home for his first win of the season and the first Clio Cup win ever for his Scuderia Vittoria team.
With rain showers throughout the day, the Clio drivers were met with tricky conditions for the race. A strong start for Allison saw him lead away, but there was quickly chaos behind, with his team-mate Luke Wright and Team Pyro duo Jack Goff and Adam Bonham going off on the opening lap. All three retired, as did Pyro's Chris Swanwick.
The race was red flagged to allow repair to the tyre barrier, before being restarted with the original grid. Another strong start for Allison saw him lead from Westbourne Motorsport's James Colburn, who had started seventh.
Behind there was a battle for third, which was held early on by Mark Proctor. The Total Control Racing driver was first under threat from Get On Track Development's Jake Packun and then from Pyro's Josh Files who got into fourth on lap five.
Files made his move for third on lap six, but a robust move just ended in contact with Proctor, which dropped them both down the order. Benefitting from this to take third was Aron Smith, the Pyro driver having worked his way up from thirteenth on the grid. He was closely pursued by Packun and joint championship leaders James Dixon and Paul Rivett, both of whom were working their way up the field after poor qualifying sessions.
Ahead, Allison was starting to get caught by Colburn, but held on to take victory by 0.680s, with Colburn taking his third podium of the season and the Graduate Cup honours. Smith took third ahead of Packun, with TCR's Dixon edging Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Rivett to take the points lead.
Proctor recovered to seventh, taking the Masters Cup honours, ahead of Darren Wilson, Tom Grice and Files, who received a £100 fine, a three place grid drop for tomorrow's race and lost three championship points for his part in the contact with Proctor. Completing the finishers were Nicolas Hamilton and Craig Currie.
Allison said: “I'm absolutely ecstatic that I have managed to get my first win of the season here today. I made a good start after the red flag which gave me the momentum to make a gap.
“I'm delighted to get this win not only for myself and sponsors, but the team who have just entered their first season in the series. I aim to carry this confidence on in to tomorrow's race where I am confident that I can achieve win number two of the weekend.”