Scuderia Vittoria enjoyed a hugely successful weekend in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup at Croft, with Matt Allison taking both pole positions and winning both races, while Luke Wright took second in qualifying and then made it a one-two in the second race. Allison's wins were the first Clio Cup wins ever for the series newcomers.
Qualifying saw Allison romp to a pair of pole positions on the wet circuit, while Wright, newcomer to tin top racing this season, set the second and third fastest times for the two races. Norfolk based Allison opened a huge three second lead on the opening lap of race one, but saw the race red flagged after a huge accident involving Wright, who instantly retired. At the restart, Allison pulled clear and despite being caught towards the end, held on for the win.
Allison said: “I had a demon start, and felt confident that I could win if I got to the first corner first. I had to sit there and stew for a few minutes at the red flag, but I knew I could get a buffer to the rest of the field early on. James is quick and it's easier to chase than lead, but I was confident he wouldn't try anything silly.
“I'm really chuffed. We're just over halfway through my comeback season and this is my first podium and first win, and I'm very happy to win in front of my sponsors Palletforce.”
Allison led from the start of race two, building up a four second gap in the first four laps. Wright dropped to fourth on the opening lap, but some excellent moves saw him work his way into second. Allison drove clear to take the win, with Wright soaking up pressure well to maintain second for his maiden Graduate Cup victory and the team's first ever one-two.
Allison said: “That was easier than yesterday. I'm really stoked for the team to get a one-two. Everything clicked this weekend and I'm really pleased to show we've got the pace in the dry as well.”
Dorset racer Wright added: “It's massively overdue. My accident was a bit of a whopper yesterday, but I stayed with the team while we rebuilt it and we left the track late at night. I had to get ahead of Chris and I knew I wasn't quite as quick as James, but if I went steady without making a mistake I could keep ahead of him.”
Former Clio Cup champion and Team director Danny Buxton, who set the team up fellow ex-racers Piers Masarati and Tom Ferrier, said: “This is an emotional weekend. Once Matt was so far ahead after the first three laps, we knew it was done and dusted because when he gets to the front, he isn't going to lose.
“After that it was about making sure we got a podium with Luke. His pace was quick – he set a quicker lap time than Matt – and he defended well. He was so late on the brakes at Tower Bend that there was no way of passing him there, which is a favourite overtaking spot. Now he'll have total belief that he can do it.
“I can't quite believe it and it all started in qualifying. The Touring Cars had been out before and I realised from watching them that the tyres were working well on a wet track, but when it got greasy the times dropped off by three to four seconds. So the guys went out to immediately set quick times. Matt did it straight away and that gave him the foundations for both his wins, which were superb.
“Luke got caught out with his inexperience on cold tyres in race one, but as long as he doesn't make the same mistake again I don't care – after all, I had some massive shunts in my early days!”