With the season returning after the break to his home circuit, Dan Zelos hoped that home advantage would give him the push towards strong results at Snetterton in the Renault UK Clio Cup.
Dan was also running a special new livery in Norfolk on his WDE Motorsport Clio to celebrate five years of backing from his main sponsor Evergreen Tyres.
In the largest Clio Cup grid for over a year, Dan managed to extend his top five qualifying run to eight races as both his fastest and second fastest times were enough for him to secure fifth on the grid for both races.
“Two top five starts was very solid in qualifying and demonstrated that we can be quick now wherever we go.” A proud Zelos said about qualifying.
Sunshine in both practice and qualifying made way for horrendous conditions on race day, there was no doubt Dan had his work cut out in order to finish with a strong top five result.
In a lively opening lap, Dan managed to work his way around the chaos ahead and despite only losing a couple places, settling in seventh allowed him to take a quick breather. Sixth was reached when leader James Dorlin slid off the track and then fifth was brilliantly gained after a move on championship veteran Paul Rivett.
In a five car battle involving himself, Ash Hand, Michael Epps, Lee Pattison and Bradley Burns. Second place was not guaranteed for anyone until they had crossed the line. Sadly for Dan, contact with Hand dropped him to sixth and he fell behind the podium battle. However, Hand was penalised for the collision and dropped behind Zelos promoting the Evergreen driver into fifth.
With race two looking like it was going to be dry, a downpour just as the grid formed meant that every driver had to take the wet tyres.
On the opening lap, Dan promoted himself into fourth place and began putting the pressure on the podium positions for the duration of the race. However, on the final lap, Zak Fulk nudged Dan off the track and down into fifth place at the flag. Stewards were not pleased with Fulk’s move and for the second time in a row, Dan was promoted a position due to a penalty for another driver.
Reflecting on his weekend. Dan commented, “We perhaps went a touch too conservative for race one,
“but in the circumstances, it was so difficult to accurately call and we wanted to make sure we reached the chequered flag. It was more like a boat race than a car race – very hard to see with all the standing water and spray.
“Still, overall it was the most confident I’ve felt all year and – I’d say – my best personal performance of the season so far. I showed I can hold my own at the front of the field and that I’m as fast as anybody else out there.
“I actually felt like we had the pace to win race two, but Lee [Pattison] is a wily old fox and knew exactly where to place his car, and once Fulk latched onto the back of us, I had to concentrate on defending as well as attacking, which obviously complicated matters.
“It was probably the most enjoyable day I’ve had yet in Clios. I really got stuck in and pulled off some good moves – the corner where I got Paul [Rivett] isn’t generally considered an overtaking spot, so that one was particularly satisfying.
“I really feel like I’ve got the car underneath me now to be able to fight, and I think we’ll be in very strong shape at Rockingham. I can’t wait!”