Oulton Park: Series preview

VICE-CHAMPION RETURNS TO CLIO GRID AT OULTON STEFAN Hodgetts will contest this weekend's ELF Renault Clio Cup races for Total Control Rac ing, replac ing Fulvio Mussi in car 27. The 2007 Clio Cup Vice-Champion won the final round last season,...

VICE-CHAMPION RETURNS TO CLIO GRID AT OULTON

STEFAN Hodgetts will contest this weekend's ELF Renault Clio Cup races for Total Control Rac ing, replac ing Fulvio Mussi in car 27.

The 2007 Clio Cup Vice-Champion won the final round last season, one of five victories after taking four in succession when he joined the series in round two.

His wins included a rain-affected race at Oulton Park, where he hopes to shine once again, saying: "I only ever go out to win races, I'm not there just to take part.

"It will take a few laps to settle back into the Clio and get used to it but I'm usually quite quick at learning.

"I want to go out and as good a job as I can for the team and help the other guys along as well. You know you're going to get a good car from TCR so it's up to me to make the most of it."

Since finishing second to Martin Byford last season, Hodgetts has not driven the Clio Cup race car until free practise at Oulton Park.

The 26-year-old's race experience in 2008 has included races in the Spanish Endurance Cup, as well as a oneoff outing in the BTCC -supporting Porsche Carrera Cup at Croft where he took a win and a second place.

A MINUTE WITH... JEFF SMITH

How has Clio Cup been?

Consistency is the thing for me. I know I have the pace to get up towards the top 10, like qualifying 13th at Snetterton, but doing it more often is proving to be harder.

What's the secret?

I think just more time in the car will help, learning to not overdrive the car. I learned a lot about race craft from karting so that's not an issue.

JEFF SMITH: "I'm very competitive - unless I do something properly I end up not doing it at all. This year is a steep learning curve but I hope to come back next year to consolidate the progress."

You have a sister Clio?

I've got a Clio 197 Cup road car, which I use for track days to help me learn the circuits. You need to be much more aggressive in the race car though, so it doesn't help from that point of view.

And you're well connected?

My company makes parts for the mobile telecoms industry, so indirectly I suppose we keep everyone connected!

JUMP SEAT: JHR Developments' Team Manager Steven Hunter will make his fourth outing of the season at Oulton Park, vacating Mark Hazell's car he used at Snetterton to drive Richard Cannon's. Peter Felix (above) also returns to the grid after missing the last event, joining Hazell and Stefan Hodgetts as changes to the Snetterton line-up.

- ITV's coverage of round 14 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup has been uploaded to the official Renault Sport UK website, renaultsport.co.uk. The Sunday race at Snetterton saw Ben Winrow clinch his eighth victory of the season ahead of a race-long scrap for second between Robert Gaffney and Steven Hunter.

- BEN Winrow's double victory at Snetterton saw Team Pyro extend its lead in the Entrants' standings from two to 13 points ahead of 2007 champion JHR Developments. Total Control Racing is just 36 ahead of Mardi Gras Motorsport in the race for third place, while Matt Allison's podium helped Robertshaw Racing climb above Coastal Racing.

- COASTAL Racing's Carl Bradley picked up the THB Clowes Driver of the Day award for round 13, coming back from a below par qualifying performance to make up 14 places and finish eighth. The round 14 prize of 100 GBP went to Robert Gaffney for his career-best second place, his second podium of the season having been third at Donington Park.

-credit: renaultsport.co.uk

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Series General
Drivers Stefan Hodgetts , Martin Byford