DONINGTON TOP SIX SLIDES AWAY FOR UNLUCKY LLOYD Scammonden-based saloon car star Daniel Lloyd came within half a lap of achieving a career best top six finish in the ELF Renault Clio Cup at Donington Park this afternoon, Saturday, 16th May, when...
DONINGTON TOP SIX SLIDES AWAY FOR UNLUCKY LLOYD
Scammonden-based saloon car star Daniel Lloyd came within half a lap of achieving a career best top six finish in the ELF Renault Clio Cup at Donington Park this afternoon, Saturday, 16th May, when a rain shower resulted in a very unlucky slide out of contention five corners from home.
Starting round five of the 2009 championship from 12th on the grid, the 17-year-old Team Pyro racer made a good start and threaded his way neatly through a three-car tangle at the Old Hairpin to emerge in an excellent eighth position, just ahead of Mike Robinson who started inside the top 10.
The aforementioned chaos led to the Safety Car being deployed for three laps but at the re-start, Daniel pressed on and by the end of lap five he was in a position to challenge for seventh place which he gained at Goddards Chicane.
Running in a very tight group of cars, all lapping with near identical times, Daniel started to pressurise sixth placed Lee Pattison and at the end of the ninth tour he took the position with a great move and proceeded to set his sights on experienced team-mate Aron Smith who, on lap 10, was just eight 10ths of a second ahead.
Closing the gap to half a second by the end of lap 12, Daniel was also under huge pressure from Pattison behind just as the heavens opened and a rain shower made things very difficult indeed for the slick tyre-shod Clio Cup drivers.
Holding off the charge of the more experienced Pattison well through Redgate and again at the Old Hairpin on lap 14, the West Yorkshire teenager finally had to succumb on the following tour at the first corner as the cars all scrambled for grip on the exit on the increasingly greasy track surface.
Into the final lap, Daniel held seventh place with the coveted top six still within his grasp but a slide at the Old Hairpin forced him wide onto the grass through the exit of the turn, losing a fistful of positions. Luckily avoiding contact with the barriers and keeping his Clio pointing in the right direction, Daniel rejoined the circuit and managed to recover 13th place and take eight valuable championship points.
"Obviously I'm absolutely gutted to have missed out on my first top six, it had been a really good race for us up until the last lap but the rain made it very tricky", explained Daniel, "Our pace was really good, my best lap was within three 10ths of a second of the fastest, I just need more experience of the slick tyres. Starting 12th it wasn't going to be easy but all in all I'm pleased with the performance."
Following today's encounter, the Clio Cup rookie is 10th overall in the driver standings -- the second highest placed category newcomer -- with 54 points from the first five races of the season.
Tomorrow, Sunday, 17th May, Daniel will start the sixth round of the campaign -- which is set to be screened live on ITV4 -- from 15th on the grid. Armchair enthusiasts can follow his progress at the East Midlands venue on Freeview channel 28, cable channel 117 or Sky Digital channel 120.