DIFFICULT DONINGTON WEEKEND DISAPPOINTS RIDLEY-HOLLOWAY Barnstaple's Jonathan Ridley-Holloway concluded the latest ELF Renault Clio Cup race meeting at Donington Park disappointed with the outcome after being forced into retirement during the ...
DIFFICULT DONINGTON WEEKEND DISAPPOINTS RIDLEY-HOLLOWAY
Barnstaple's Jonathan Ridley-Holloway concluded the latest ELF Renault Clio Cup race meeting at Donington Park disappointed with the outcome after being forced into retirement during the second encounter yesterday, Sunday, 4th May.
The 23-year-old championship rookie, who has stepped up to the Clio Cup this year from the endurance-based Britcar and Production S1 categories, achieved a top 12 finish during round five on Saturday, 3rd May, but Sunday afternoon's encounter came to an abrupt end for the Total Control Racing star before he'd even completed a lap.
During qualifying -- which was affected by a stoppage part way through due to Jonathan Shepherd colliding with the pitwall -- the North Devon racer produced a best lap of 1m 19.469 seconds (88.66mph) and although within a second of pole position, he lined up 20th on the grid.
For the round six grid, Jonathan's consistency helped him improve as his second fastest qualifying lap of 1m 19.495 seconds was good enough for 18th place. Nonetheless, he was disappointed not to have been closer to the top 10.
Having identified a problem with dampers on his car during the official pre-event test on Thursday, the TCR mechanics rectified the issue but Jonathan couldn't quite achieve the lap times he wanted in qualifying as he tried to adjust to the different feel of his Clio.
At the start of round five, he enjoyed a great opening lap -- avoiding a three car incident at the Old Hairpin -- to climb into the top 15. However, the race was red flagged due to the stranded vehicles from the aforementioned collision.
The race got back underway on lap six and after making up a further place due to a spin by team-mate Alex MacDowall, Jonathan then benefited from bad luck for Gavin Pyper on lap nine. Running in 13th position, Jonathan then became locked in a tight battle with four other drivers for the remainder of the race -- particularly during the last few laps.
Taking the chequered flag in 13th place, he was later credited with a top 12 finish after Chris Law was excluded from the results due to his involvement in an incident which eliminated Paul Rivett from proceedings.
At the start of Sunday's sixth round, Jonathan made another good getaway and he looked poised to challenge strongly having gained five positions during the first two thirds of the opening lap. Sadly, contact at Goddards eliminated him from the race.
He commented: "I thought I was ok on the outside of (Niki) Lanik but then I took a hit from another car up the inside and couldn't do anything about it -- my car was damaged and that was the end of the race unfortunately.
"It's a shame because I'd made a good start and the first lap had gone well up to that point. We were up inside the top 15 and although we should have been higher, it would have at least been a reasonable finish. It's been a bit of a weekend to forget in all honesty, the points on Saturday were welcome but I wasn't happy with my pace."
The next event on the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup calendar sees the championship visit Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire on 17th/18th May. Even though the venue is well over 100 miles from Jonathan's North Devon home, it's still classed as his 'home' track so he'll be hoping for his best outing of the season so far in his PicoPC.co.uk, Bond Oxborough Phillips and A4 Apparel backed car.
In the meantime, highlights of the Clio Cup action from the first event of the season at Brands Hatch will be screened tomorrow, Tuesday, 6th May, at 17.00 on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 as part of the Motorsport UK magazine programme.