GLEW AND MACDOWALL OUT IN FRONT AT HALFWAY STAGE Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) and Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) took a win and a second place apiece during rounds nine and 10 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio...
GLEW AND MACDOWALL OUT IN FRONT AT HALFWAY STAGE
Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) and Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) took a win and a second place apiece during rounds nine and 10 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 13th/14th June.
MacDowall secured a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday's round nine followed by a second place in Sunday's round 10, a feat matched by Glew and which now sees the two drivers leading the field at the halfway stage with just 34 points separating Phil from Alex. The weekend also saw two third place finishes for JHR Development's Stefan Hodgetts (Worcester) who was making a return to the series driving in Mark Hazell's car.
As well as marking the halfway stage in the one-make championship, the weekend was also the last time the current Clio car will be used before the new shape, based on the road-going Clio Renaultsport 200, is unveiled at World Series by Renault on 4th/5th July (rounds 11 and 12).
Glew sticks to the front...
Following Saturday's qualifying session it was MacDowall who held the Michelin pole-position for round 10 on Sunday afternoon with Glew, still yet to start a race away from the front row, alongside him.
A packed crowd both at the circuit and watching live on ITV4, waited in anticipation for lights to go out for the start of the 12-lap race. Glew made the better start to lead the field into Clervaux with MacDowall in second and Hodgetts moving into third from fifth on the gird demoting Total Control Racing's Mike Robinson (Surbiton) to fourth. PH Motorsport's Phil House (Harrogate), returning to the championship to compete at his home circuit, was unable to make the most of his fourth place start, dropping well down the order on the opening lap.
After a disappointing race in round nine, JHR Development's Andrew Herron (Co.Down) -- currently third in the drivers' standings -- was running well in eighth from 16th on the grid.
Race leader Glew pushed hard in the early stages although MacDowall was eager to regain the place with Hodgetts, who finished runner-up in the 2007 Clio Cup championship, running strongly in third.
In the midfield, Team Pyro's Aron Smith (Dublin) was coming under increasing pressure from Herron with the 21-year-old Northern Ireland racer eventually getting the better of him a few laps later. DTR's Stephen Tyldsley (Guiseley) was also running well in 10th competing on his home track -- one of five Yorkshire drivers.
Contact between Coastal Racing's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) and Mardi Gras Motorsport's David Dickenson (Keatingstown) saw damage to the front of Bradley's car causing the Clerk of the Course to issue him the black and orange flag. Carl continued to race though until he was blacked flagged and, following a post race investigation, the 24-year-old racer was subsequently excluded for failing to comply.
Out in front, Glew continued to set the pace while behind the front runners, contact was made between Amery Motorsport's David Shepherd (Sandbach), Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Patrick Collins (Spaldwick) and Westbourne Motorsport with Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's James Colburn (Worthing) on the exit to the Chicane on lap seven. As the leading pair passed through on the next lap, spilt oil left by the cars, caused both to run wide but giving MacDowall the chance to pass Glew for the lead which he did as they entered Tower.
MacDowall's lead was short lived however, as a determined Glew darted up the inside on the approach to the Hairpin -- the tightest of any UK circuit -- on the same lap to retake his lead. The tussel however allowed Hodgetts to gain slightly on the leading pair with Robinson and fifth place Amery Motorsport's Dave Newsham (Inverness) also making slight gains.
On the last lap, MacDowall mounted one last challenge for the lead at the Hairpin but championship leader Glew -- who was also awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day --defended the racing line to hold onto the place and secure his seventh win together with the NGK fastest lap for maximum championship points. MacDowall was forced to settle for second with Hodgetts rounding off a good weekend in third.
MacDowall leads the way...
As the lights went out for Saturday afternoon's round nine, it was Michelin pole-sitter MacDowall who took full advantage to lead the field into the first corner closely followed by Glew. Behind the front runners, Bradley had made a good start from eighth on the gird to move up the field as had local racer Total Control Racing's Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield), while in contrast fellow Yorkshire driver House was shuffled down the order on the opening lap.
Contact between Herron and Range Storage Ltd with Coastal Racing's Lee Pattison (Liversedge) at Tower in the early stages also saw an early end to their races.
By the end of the first few laps MacDowall was starting to pull away from Glew with Hodgetts passing Robinson for third, Bradley running well in fifth and Newsham in sixth.
As the opening three cars began to extend their lead over the chasing pack, the midfield battle was hotting up with Lloyd passing Newsham to move into sixth with the 17-year-old now chasing the back of Bradley's Clio for a top five spot. It wasn't long before the Huddersfield racer had his chance running side-by-side with Bradley as they crossed the start/finish line on lap 10, with Bradley, who held the racing line, just holding on to the place.
With the race nearing its 12 lap distance, there was no change up front with Glew unable to get close enough to MacDowall to mount an effective challenge and Hodgetts content in third.
Meanwhile, the battle in the midfield was still undecided with seventh place Newsham getting a good run out of the Hairpin on the penultimate lap to go side-by-side with sixth place Lloyd. Daniel -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- just managed to hold on to the place though as the field started their final lap.
Out in front, MacDowall had now developed a comfortable lead over Glew to secure his second win of the season -- along with the NGK fastest lap to secure two bonus points -- with Phil taking second and Hodgetts picking up his first podium in only his first race of 2009. Robinson took fourth continuing his strong run from Oulton Park with Bradley rounding off the top five. Lloyd picked up his best result of the season so far with sixth as did Tyldsley with eighth.
Commenting on his performance for the weekend Glew said: "Alex [MacDowall] is certainly getting quicker and TCR have certainly given him a good car this weekend but I'm still picking up points and protecting my lead in the championship. In Saturday's race, Alex was able to pull away from me on the straight and just seemed to have more pace than me. We were much more on the pace in Sunday's race but when Alex took the lead I just had to take it back and made my move at the Hairpin which thankfully came off."
Commenting on his weekend, MacDowall said: "Glew got a good start in round nine but I kept foot in to lead into the first corner. After that it was quite an easy race and just a case of keeping my head down. The car was running fantastic which is down to the team who decided to change it after we discovered a problem in Friday's free practice. Sunday's race was another good battle between us with Glew just getting the better off me."
Double podium finisher Hodgetts, said: "I'm really pleased with the two podiums this weekend especially as I'm a little rusty to Clio racing! Phil and Alex were just so quick though meaning I never really got close enough to challenge."
Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on 4th/5th July as part of the World Series by Renault event.
-credit: rcc uk