Renault UK Clio Cup

TCR’S Dixon Remains In Title Fight After Mixed Snetterton

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James Dixon once again led the way for Total Control Racing in the 2011 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK, the championship challenger taking victory in Round Eleven around the Snetterton 300 circuit to move into the series lead, before first lap contact saw him retire from Round Twelve, dropping him out the lead once again.

Kent-based Dixon lined up fifth for the opening race and made a decent start to stay in that position, before he avoided a multi-car incident at the Hairpin to emerge in the lead. From then on he controlled the race from the front to take his fourth victory of the season, moving him back into the championship lead.

Team-mate Nicolas Hamilton qualified thirteenth but got out of shape on the first lap as he headed to the new infield corner named after his brother. After picking up a large amount of dirt in his rear wheels, Hamilton had to pit for a wheel change after feeling a vibration, ending up a lap down in fourteenth.

For Mark Proctor, the race was to prove frustrating after he climbed up to ninth on the opening lap after a great start, but he was to be served a drive through penalty for a jump start, dropping him to an eventual finish of twelfth.

With regular driver Tom Grice unable to compete due to budgets problems, Andy Jordan came into the TCR squad in his place, the rookie, who had an outing with the team in 2010, making his first appearance of the season. After qualifying in the top fifteen, Jordan looked set for a top twelve finish until a dramatic last lap excursion saw him hit the barriers hard and roll his Clio, writing the car off, meaning he missed the weekend's second race.

Dixon's weekend was to take a turn for the wore in race two though, when contact with the side of a rivals car at the first corner forced Dixon off circuit. Although able to recover back on track, he had to retire a couple of laps later with steering damage, dropping him back to third in the championship, fifteen points from the top.

Proctor enjoyed one of his most competitive races of the season, fighting back from the back of the grid after driveshaft problems in qualifying to take twelfth place and the Masters Cup class victory. Hamilton meanwhile produced another impressive performance, the rookie taking thirteenth.

TCR Team Principal Lee Brookes said: “James was just trying to stay out of trouble at the start and he was unfortunate to have the contact to his front-left wheel. It was disappointing having taken the championship lead back on Saturday but he just has to go out and try and win as many of the remaining races as he can.

“If Mark can manage to qualify a bit higher he'll start racking up some really good results as he always races well and this weekend he did another good job. Nic is going to be one to watch as the year goes on, his sector times were fantastic. If he can do that now, with such little experience in racing, when he gets everything together he's really going to spring some surprises.

“We're really disappointed Andy's weekend ended how it did on Saturday, he did a really good job in the race and tried very hard. Sometimes these things happen but he gave a good account of himself and certainly deserved better.” 

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