For Alex Morgan, the opening rounds of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch back in April feel like a very, very long time ago.
In the Kent spring air, the 2013 Clio vice-champion got his title challenge off to a perfect start with a dominant double victory around the Indy circuit.
Since then though, the season has turned into a nightmare for the SV Racing driver, with a host of mechanical problems, incidents and sheer bad luck seeing him cut adrift from the title picture.
The misfortune continued at Snetterton this past weekend, with a first lap collision with Jordan Stilp in race one leading to him nursing home a damaged Clio in eighth, before the smallest of contact whilst running side-by-side with Mike Bushell in race two sent him off into the barriers and out of the race.
“It’s been a really frustrating weekend in the sense that for the first time in a while, we’ve been quick and had the pace in qualifying,” a downbeat Morgan told TCF after race two.
“Yesterday I got taken out of the race, and today it was just a 50/50 and bad luck, Mike [Bushell] lost the back end of his and it connected with the front of mine. That ultimately broke my steering and sent me into the wall, another DNF and a weekend to forget.”
While that was only a second retirement of the season for the KX Akademy member, it was the latest chapter in a torrid season that had promised so much for him in the early stages.
Morgan led the championship after the first four races, having added a third place at Donington to his Brands wins, but since then he hasn’t finished higher than fifth and has had to watch on as his SV Racing team-mate Josh Cook has pulled away at the top of the championship.
While it’s been a barren spell in the UK series, he did have a positive outing in the Eurocup Clio’s at the Nurburgring last month. After signing a last minute deal to join Rangoni Corse for the meeting, Morgan carded two top three qualifying results and a maiden Eurocup podium finish.
While his UK title challenge is all but over, with the Eurocup performance under his belt, Morgan is now keen to prove himself again in the UK series and make a swift return to the podium.
“As things stand, it has been a very bad spell since Brands Hatch and I just want to make sure this drought ends at some point and we get back to the front before the end of the season,” he commented.
“The Eurocup weekend has helped me as it proved that after such a long spell of mediocre results that I could deliver results against more experienced drivers on a circuit I didn’t really know.
“From the outside perspective, it may look like it’s because I’ve gone off the boil or I’ve lost pace or something, but there’s also a million and one reasons behind the scenes why things happen.
“I know I can do it in the UK series, I just need the right luck, I need to have a really good car and I need to be on form myself. When that all comes together, it won’t be a problem.”
With the Welshman planning to move on to pastures new for 2015, he’s focused on ending the Clio Cup chapter of his career on a high, and is confident of running well in the final three meetings of the season at Knockhill, Rockingham and Brands Hatch GP.
“Knockhill is going to be new for everyone, but I’ve raced there before and I’m comfortable with how that’s going to be,” he added.
“I had lots of pace at Rockingham last year, but unfortunately my team-mate Josh Files took me out (laughs) and if it wasn’t for that we’d have had a good result. As for Brands, I had two wins there at the start of the year so I’m looking forward to going back, and I did well on the GP circuit last year too.
“Ultimately, I’m happy in my mind that I can win, and I just want a few good results in the UK this season before I exit the series.”