Following a luckless first half to his maiden Renault UK Clio Cup season, Dan Zelos is hoping to put the ill-fortune behind him and challenge at the front in the remaining four weekends, starting at his home circuit Snetterton at the end of the month (30/31 July).
The Ciceley Motorsport ace got his season off to an ideal start with a top three in qualifying at the Brands Hatch season opener, but has seen a torrid run of races lead to five retirements and a best finish of only sixteenth position.
“There’s no denying that it’s been a big step-up this year, and in some respects, I think qualifying so well at Brands Hatch perhaps worked against us, as it immediately shifted the goalposts and set the bar unreasonably high for my first season,” he reflected.
“We’ve certainly had our fair share of bad luck so far which has been a combination of my lack of experience in the car, the odd rookie error and simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time when other drivers have made mistakes.
“It’s felt a bit like one step forward followed by two steps back and that whenever we’ve made progress, something has then stopped us in our tracks. In two years of Ginettas, I finished 39 out of 40 races, which makes the current situation even harder to accept as it’s completely different to anything I’ve ever been used to.
“That said, when things have gone right, we’ve proved we have good inherent pace – we just haven’t had a trouble-free weekend yet to convert it into results. I’m working hard to come back both mentally and physically stronger because the bottom line is that there’s an awful lot more to come.”
Within Zelos’ recent tough spell however came the news that Ciceley would hand the 18 year old a test opportunity in their Wix Racing Mercedes A-Class at the end of the season, Zelos’ first opportunity to test BTCC machinery.
“Getting to try out Ciceley’s BTCC car is really exciting, and not something I had expected at all,” he added.
“When we joined the team, we knew there would be some pretty cool opportunities given their touring car connections, but I never thought I’d be invited to sample the Mercedes in only my first year.
“The A-Class is a multiple race-winning touring car and with my ultimate goal being to compete in the BTCC, this is like a little bit of that dream coming true.”