HOME FINALE HOLDS PLENTY OF PROMISE FOR CLIO ROOKIE DIXON Stockbury's James Dixon returns to his home track, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, for the finale of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup next weekend, 9th/10th October, where he'll be aiming to ...
HOME FINALE HOLDS PLENTY OF PROMISE FOR CLIO ROOKIE DIXON
Stockbury's James Dixon returns to his home track, Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, for the finale of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup next weekend, 9th/10th October, where he'll be aiming to sign-off his maiden season in the category with yet more podium success.
Although only able to join the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship-supporting series in time for the second event of the season back at the end of April, the Kent 20-year-old rapidly got up to speed and over the second half of the campaign he's been a consistent front-runner.
Since securing his maiden podium finishes at Snetterton in Norfolk at the beginning of August, along with a debut Clio Cup pole position in qualifying, the Total Control Racing driver has been right at the sharp end on a consistent basis.
Just missing out on the overall podium during the first of two races at Knockhill in Scotland at the start of September, James -- who is a race instructor at Brands Hatch -- underlined his pace by setting the NGK Fastest Lap but did make it onto the rostrum by virtue of winning the Graduate class.
He soon made a swift return to the outright podium though with a superb drive to second place, in extremely tricky conditions, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit behind former double ELF Renault Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett -- an event attended by over 120,000 spectators! He also posted the NGK Fastest Lap in the first of that weekend's races and, to date, has taken four Graduate Class wins.
Heading to Brands Hatch for rounds 19 and 20, James is eager to achieve more podiums and will also be pushing hard to fight for his maiden race win in front of his home fans at the most important race meeting of the year for his key sponsors, ABP Heating and Weidmuller.
"I have a good feeling returning back to my home circuit", said James, "I know it well, obviously, because I instruct there and this should give me a slight advantage but we will only know when we get out on track during the practice on Friday morning. We started off very positively on the GP circuit at Brands earlier on in the year so I feel speed should naturally flow.
"I feel as one with the car now I've done more mileage, I'm understanding how to push the car and knowing where the limit is and the last few rounds have given me an extra boost. I know what's possible and I'm sure a win is only just around the corner. The team has produced a fantastic car for me this year, it's only a lack of experience that has been against me."
James is currently an impressive seventh in the championship, even though he's missed four of the 18 races contested so far, and a strong conclusion to the season could see him potentially challenge for the coveted top six. At present, just 22 points stand between James and his target.
His long-term goal is to graduate to the BTCC and while success on track will go a long way to impressing the team bosses up and down the touring car pitlane, James knows an even bigger part of the equation is the funding required to make the step-up.
"We're still unsure on next year's funding", he added, "We're under pressure to find the budget and I know, as a driver, I've got to produce results. Our recent success has certainly helped and I must thank my sponsors, ABP Heating and Weidmuller -- without them we wouldn't be on the grid. The BTCC is my ultimate aim and I think it's possible if I continue what I've been doing."
Following pre-event practice on Friday, 8th October, qualifying for the final two races of 2010 will take place at 11.15 on Saturday, 9th October, ahead of round 19 at around 16.20. Round 20, which is scheduled to be screened live on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4, will get underway at approximately 13.15 on Sunday, 10th October.
2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup standings (after Rds17&18): Champion: Dave Newsham, 529pts; 7th James Dixon, 219pts