Total Control Racing had a mixed weekend in the lastest rounds of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Croft, particularly lead driver James Dixon, who took the outright championship lead after Round Nine, before losing it in a bruising Round Ten.
Qualifying for the opening race took place in unpredictable conditions, with rainfall during the session meaning those who posted quick laps early were the best placed at the end. Benefitting from this were Tom Grice and Mark Proctor, who went fourth and fifth fastest, but losing out were Dixon and Nicolas Hamilton, who ended up twelfth and fifteenth.
The beginning of the first race saw Proctor jump ahead of Grice, with the latter than taking a visit into the tyres at the complex. Fortunately more incidents around the lap meant the race was red flagged and restarted. This allowed the TCR mechanics to repair Grice's car and let him take the restart from the pitlane.
With several cars not making the restart, Proctor started second, Dixon eighth and Hamilton eleventh. Proctor slipped to third early on, but held on well to the place until contact from a rival on lap five dropped him to seventh, where he finished for his finish of the year, taking the Masters Cup honours. Dixon was making good progress through the field and despite being held up in the aftermath of Proctor's incident, took fifth. Grice climbed up to finish ninth, with Hamilton eleventh.
TCR Team Principal Lee Brookes commented: “Mark had by far his best race in Clios today. He did well to hold third early on and the contact at the hairpin was unfortunate. James came through very well after qualifying, the most important thing was to finish ahead of (Paul) Rivett which he did. Tom showed his true pace again to fight back well from the pitlane start and Nicolas did yet another great job.”
The driver's second fastest times in Saturday's qualifying session put Grice fourth, Dixon tenth, Proctor eleventh and Hamilton fourteenth for Round Ten. A first corner scuffle dropped Grice to seventh, before a sideways moment at the complex put him tenth at the end of the opening lap. By this point Hamilton's race was already over, with a clutch failure at the start.
By lap three Dixon was into the top six, with Grice working his way up the order and Proctor sitting just outside the top ten. The drama for Dixon began on lap six, when contact at Clervaux from a rival sent him spinning down to fourteenth. The Kent racer made progress back through the field, but further contact from a rival on lap eleven broke his steering and ended his race. Grice worked his way through the finish sixth, with Proctor seventh, capping off his best weekend yet in the Clio Cup.
Brookes concluded: “Nic's clutch going at the start of the Clio race was a real disappointment as he was really fired up and then James was very unlucky with the contact and damage he picked up. As in the first race though, Mark did a fantastic job and it really was great to see him racing in among so many quick drivers. Tom had the pace, as he has all year, he just lost out on the first lap and it was hard work from there.”