Total Control Racing had a promising weekend during Rounds Three and Four of the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Donington Park, with Nicolas Hamilton leading the way with two of his best race performances of his career to date.
20 year old Hamilton qualified just 0.8 seconds off pole position to line up fourteenth on the grid for the opening race. The second year racer made a good start and enjoyed a strong opening lap to hold thirteenth place and despite slipping a place, Hamilton was soon in the top twelve after a shake-up on lap six and crossed the line a strong eleventh.
The second race wasn't as fruitful for Hamilton, despite delivering the same sort of competitive performance. Well within another strong midfield battle, Hamilton was up to eleventh with less than three laps to go, but on lap fourteen a spin into the infield at the Craner Curves cost him a number of positions. This was compounded with an unlucky excursion on the final lap at Coppice, meaning Hamilton ended up outside the points-paying top 20, a disappointing end to a race with real potential.
Team-mate Rob Smith meanwhile, embarking on only his second weekend in saloon cars, had a stern test in the races after a tough qualifying session. The 19 year old wasn't helped at the start of the opening lap, a tap to the rear of his Clio unbalancing his car into the Old Hairpin, before he had to take to the grass to avoid a spinning car ahead.
Smith recovered to the tail of the field and a determined drive saw him get into the points positions in seventeenth place. The second race saw Smith start much further down than expected, but another committed drive saw him match his earlier finish of seventeenth, while lapping within top ten pace.
Team Principal Lee Brookes said: “Nic drove very well this weekend, these have been two of the best race performances we've seen from him for getting stuck in and passing people – and it was with guys around the top 10 as well so that was even more impressive to see.
“Rob didn't get a tow with one of the quicker drivers in qualifying so he was stuck back further down the grid than he should have been. It's a shame he got caught-up in something at the Old Hairpin in the first race but each race is a test session really at the minute, as soon as the confidence starts coming more and more he'll be up there for sure.”