Dan Zelos feels he “caused a few people to sit up and take notice” as he underlined his potential in the Renault UK Clio Cup with a top three qualifying performance on his championship debut with Ciceley Motorsport.
The Ginetta Junior graduate made an immediate impact at the Brands Hatch season opener with a star performance in qualifying, posting the eighth quickest time for race one and the third best ‘second fastest’ time to line up on the second row for race two.
Sadly for the 17 year old though, his opening race wouldn’t even last one corner as a sideways moment for the leader bunched the field up through Paddock Hill Bend, with Zelos tagged from behind in the chaos and sent into the gravel trap, hitting the stranded former leaders car.
Following a rapid repair job from the Ciceley team, Zelos was back on track for race two and ran fourth through the first couple of corners, before a slight error led to a spin at Graham Hill Bend, dropping him to the back of the field for the remainder of the race.
“To qualifying where we did massively exceeded our expectations. When grid slots are determined by your two fastest laps, consistency is key, and that has always been one of my strengths. I was over the moon to be third for race two,” said Zelos.
“I surprised myself a bit by nailing the start so well in race one, but then it was a combination of wrong place, wrong time and inexperience in understanding how the Clio would react in that situation. The Ciceley boys performed miracles to repair the damage so we could go again the next day.
“After what had happened in race one and given where we had qualified, I think I put myself under quite a lot of pressure and it seems the spin was caused by either coming off the brakes a tad too early on cold tyres or putting a wheel slightly off-line.
“It was a typical rookie error, but we’ve said all along that this is going to be a learning year for us and with more miles under my belt, I won’t make the same mistake again. It was obviously a shame not to come away with a decent finish, but it was good to be able to offer a glimpse of our potential.
“I think we caused a few people to sit up and take notice. There’s no reason at all why we can’t do the same again at Donington – and hopefully there, we will get the result to go with it!”