The Total Control Racing team has plenty to look back on following an action-packed weekend at Thruxton for the AirAsia Renault UK Clip Cup Championship.
Both Nicolas Hamilton and Rob Smith were in the barriers in Round 6 as the team fell victim to the atrocious conditions, but team boss Lee Brookes chalked the incident-filled Sunday up to experience and labelled the day “a big learning curve for the drivers”.
Hamilton, off the back of a career-best qualifying on Saturday, was unable to take advantage of his 7th place start in Round 5, recovering from a contact-induced spin at the final chicane to finish 14th. Smith, starting right in the thick of it in 19th, was two places behind in 16th.
As the heavens opened in time for the second race of the day, the heavy rain ensured Round 6 would begin behind the safety car. When it did get underway, both drivers were caught out by standing water at the first corner, Allard.
First off, quite literally, was Hamilton. Having gone one better on the grid for this race, in conditions not too dissimilar from those facing the drivers now, the team was optimistic of a strong result. But as the cars headed over the line for the first time he was pitched into a spin and ended up in the barriers. He recovered to finish 18th.
Smith, competing in his first wet Clio race, had made three places from his 19th grid spot, but spun at the same corner on lap six, the hefty impact with the barriers ending his race prematurely.
Brookes reflected: “For Rob, having never driven in the wet before, the conditions were not what you'd want and especially at a track as fast as Thruxton. There were lots of experienced racers having issues, as well as the inexperienced ones – that showed how tough it was.”
As for Hamilton, Brookes was pleased with his perseverance after a very frustrating day: “Nic got caught out too, there was a lot of standing water and with all the spray in the pack it was difficult to see where the water was.
“I was pleased Nic just kept going and going, you couldn't stop him, when he had a moment he'd be back on it and trying again. If it hadn't been quite that bad I'm sure he'd have had a top result – we wanted it wet, just not that wet!.”