UK: Series Oulton Park summary

NEWSHAM UNTOUCHABLE AT OULTON PARK Team Pyro's Dave Newsham (Inverness) produced another faultless performance during rounds seven and eight of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin series at Oulton Park circuit on 5th/6th June with ...

NEWSHAM UNTOUCHABLE AT OULTON PARK

Team Pyro's Dave Newsham (Inverness) produced another faultless performance during rounds seven and eight of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin series at Oulton Park circuit on 5th/6th June with two superb lights-to-flag victories.

Only a fastest lap by Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff (Leeds) prevented the 42-year-old from taking a clean sweep of the points during the thrilling race weekend which sees him extend his title lead to 63-points. Two second places for Tordoff though saw the 21-year-old make a welcome return to form following a spell of bad luck with Sam confident that Newsham is still, "definitely catchable".

Local driver Jake Packun (Bolton) driving for Elite Motorsport -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting -- and JHR Developments' Lee Pattison (Liversedge) both picked up a third place during the meeting which once again attracted a sizeable crowd.

The Graduate Cup and NGK Masters Cup honours meanwhile went to Tordoff and Newsham respectively.

Impeccable Newsham secures the double...

Coming into this weekend Newsham had yet to start a race away from the front row. After Saturday's lively qualifying session the Scot's unbeaten record remained intact with the championship leader now matching Ben Winrow's record of eight consecutive poles.

With Newsham in familiar territory for the start of round eight -- broadcast live on ITV4 -- it was left to Tordoff to challenge him on row one with Packun and Total Control Racing's Mike Robinson (Surbiton) on row two. Title hopeful Pattison could only manage seventh though after contact with Total Control Racing's James Dixon (Stockbury) during qualifying damaged his car's tracking.

Twelve laps now stood between Newsham and win number six as the lights went out for the start of the race. Newsham, who also won the weekend's Michelin tyre bonus, duly took full advantage of his P1 spot to lead the field into Old Hall closely followed by Tordoff and Packun. Just behind, the midfield runners headed into the same right-hander three-abreast with Pattison and team-mate Fulvio Mussi (Abberton) emerging in fourth and fifth places respectively by the end of the opening lap.

Pretty soon the race developed into a three-way battle between Newsham, Tordoff and Packun who was making a welcome return to form after a disappointing run at Brands Hatch GP. Being sandwiched in the middle, Tordoff was being forced to both attack and defend which he impressively did particularly gaining ground through the Island Bend hairpin.

Lap by lap Tordoff continued to pressurise Newsham's Clio but the former Legends racer was, as ever, flawless around the 2.2260-mile circuit. It wasn't long though before the top three became four as a podium-hungry Pattison had been able to catch the leading trio. With a four-car-train at the front, the midfield was just as exciting with a gaggle of six cars headed by Westbourne Motorsport's Rob Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) all running nose-to-tail. A few laps later Gaffney's team-mate James Colburn (Worthing) decided it was his turn to lead the pack passing the 20-year-old on lap 10 to move into sixth position.

As the race neared its completion Tordoff knew this was his last chance to make one final push which he did with some blistering lap times including the NGK fastest lap of the race with a 1min 35.217s (84.16mph average) and a new lap record.

Like a sponge, Newsham soaked up the pressure though and with the chequered flag in sight crossed the line to take yet another championship win along with the NGK Masters Cup. Tordoff, who also brought home the Graduate Cup honours, finished second with the gap-to-the-flag a mere 0.315 seconds.

The battle for third however was still raging on as Packun and Pattison, who may be friends off the track, were having a fantastic scrap for the final podium spot. The two swapped places several times through Old Hall and Cascades before Packun ran wide at Island Bend allowing Pattison to just take the place as they headed to the finish with Mussi rounding off the top five.

Podium return for Packun...

Saturday's round seven, held in glorious sunshine, saw Newsham as the Michelin pole sitter with Tordoff alongside him and Packun and Robinson on row two. As the race got underway it was Tordoff who made the better start but with the inside line Newsham was just able to hold on into the first corner. Tordoff tried frantically to pass on the opening lap but was kept at bay with Packun and Robinson in hot pursuit.

The opening stages saw close racing throughout the field with Team Pyro's Jack Goff (High Wycombe) in particular making good progress to move into seventh from 12th on the grid. At the front Newsham was trying desperately to carve out a lead from Tordoff but the Leeds racer was keeping him honest. Tordoff himself was also having to keep a watchful eye on Packun who was now just metres away from the back of his rear bumper.

In the midfield Mussi and Colburn were enjoying a good battle with Colburn briefly setting the NGK fastest lap before that honour went to Newsham on lap seven. By this stage in the race Newsham had developed a small lead of around half a second as Tordoff sat patiently waiting for the Inverness racer to make a mistake.

It was third-placed Packun though who made a slight mistake to relieve the pressure on Tordoff while just behind it was Robinson who was now feeling the strain from Pattison. Newsham meanwhile was making no mistakes and duly crossed the line for another lights-to-flag victory together with the NGK Master Cup honours. Tordoff finished second along with the Graduate Cup win with Packun making a welcome return to the podium since Thruxton to clinch third. Robinson, who picked up podiums here in 2008 and 2009, could only manage fourth with Pattison in fifth.

Commenting on his performance Newsham said: "It's been an absolutely perfect weekend for me. In round seven Tordoff just got the better of me at the start but I had the inside line and just managed to hold him off. I got a better start in round eight but Sam and Jake certainly didn't give me an easy time and I knew I could never let up."

Speaking after his second podium Tordoff said: "It's been a good points haul for me this weekend but it's going to take something special to beat Newsham. It will come though and he's definitely catchable."

Following his return to the podium in round seven Packun said: "I really enjoyed the race and I'm glad to be back on the podium. I just tried to not make any mistakes this weekend and to keep my lines as clean as I could."

Final podium holder Pattison added: "It's been a tough weekend for us with a disappointing qualifying session but I enjoyed the battle with Jake in round eight and pleased to be on the podium."

Rounds nine and 10 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 19th/20th June.

-source: renaultsport.co.uk

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Series General
Drivers Sam Tordoff , Dave Newsham , Jack Goff