ROOKIE RACER TORDOFF SECURES MAIDEN WIN AT SNETTERTON Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff (Leeds) produce two superb drives during rounds 13 and 14 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit on August 1st/2nd to...
ROOKIE RACER TORDOFF SECURES MAIDEN WIN AT SNETTERTON
Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff (Leeds) produce two superb drives during rounds 13 and 14 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at Norfolk's Snetterton circuit on August 1st/2nd to secure his maiden victory in the one-make series. The 20-year-old, who's the grandson of famous rally driver Jack Tordoff, claimed a lights-to-flag victory in round 14 held on Sunday, 2nd August -- shown live on ITV4 -- together with a second-place during Saturday's action-packed round 13.
Team-mate and championship hopeful Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) took the honours in round 13 making a great weekend for West-Midlands based TCR which now sees them just 24-points behind Team Pyro in the entrants' standings.
Meanwhile championship leader Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) had a characteristically strong weekend securing a third (round 13) and second-place to give the 26-year-old racer a 76-point lead in the drivers' standings over nearest-rival MacDowall. The final podium spot went to Northern Irish racer Andrew Herron (Co. Down) racing for JHR Developments.
The weekend was also the first time the new Clio Cup race car, based on the road-going Clio Renaultsport 200 and featuring an improved bodykit and wishbone design, had been used at a BTCC meeting.
Tordoff races to maiden victory...
In front of a packed Snetterton crowd and a live television audience, Tordoff lined the start grid as Michelin pole-sitter for the start of round 14 -- already a season first for the Leeds racer who until this season had raced in karts. MacDowall joined Tordoff on the front row, forcing Glew to the second row for the first time this year.
As the lights went out for the start of the 16-lap race, Tordoff kept his cool to get the better start and lead the field into the first corner with MacDowall and Glew going side-by-side. MacDowall briefly held second place until Glew darted up the inside at the Esses on lap one to claim the place pushing Alex to third with Herron in fourth and Total Control Racing's Mike Robinson (Surbiton) in fifth. Elite Motorsport's Jake Packun (Bolton) was also running strong in sixth.
On lap four, MacDowall, eager to reclaim his second place, tried to pass Glew on the inside going into Russell but outbraked himself forcing the 18-year-old to go straight on and allowing Herron to move into third.
In the midfield, a great battle was developing between Team Pyro's Aron Smith (Dublin) and JHR Development's Tom Carnaby (Scunthorpe) with the two nose-to-tail through the chicane. Just ahead, Westbourne Motorsport with Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's James Colburn (Worthing) and Total Control Racing's Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield) were also challenging hard to be inside the top ten.
By the halfway stage, the leading four cars of Tordoff, Glew, Herron and MacDowall had now pulled away from fifth place Robinson while sixth place Packun was coming under increasing pressure from Amery Motorsport's Dave Newsham (Inverness). The pressure eventually proved to be too much for Packun who spun in the run into the Esses on lap 12 handing the place to the former Legends racer.
Out in front, a focused Tordoff was looking confident as he led the four car train around the 1.9520-mile circuit. Second-place Glew tried hard to find a way passed although also keeping one eye on the challenges of Herron and fourth-place MacDowall who earlier had set the NGK fastest lap with a time of 1min 18.085s (89.99mph average) earning him two extra championship points.
As the race entered the final stages, there was little daylight between the four leading cars with each driver waiting for the other to make a mistake. Tordoff, who'd looked promising all weekend, didn't put a foot wrong, cleanly exiting Russell for the last time before crossing the line to take the chequered flag and his maiden Clio Cup win -- along with the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day award.
Glew, Herron and MacDowall all followed with just over half a second separating the four drivers. Robinson, who'd spent much of the race on his own, crossed the line in fifth with Newsham in sixth. Despite crossing the line in ninth, a post race investigation by the Clerk of the Course deemed that Lloyd had cut part of the circuit handing the 17-year-old a time penalty and dropping him two places to 11th.
MacDowall on top in round 13...
Saturday's round 13 saw MacDowall line the start grid as Michelin pole-sitter after lapping inside the circuit record during the day's earlier qualifying session. Tordoff once again joined MacDowall on the front row with Glew in third.
As the lights went out, the rain which had been threatening all afternoon began to fall, although that didn't stop MacDowall taking full advantage of his pole position to lead the field into Riches followed by Glew who had slipped into second after a slow start by Tordoff.
As the midfield pack jostled for position going into the first corner, contact between Lloyd, Packun and Team Pyro's Alex Dew (Oxford) caused all three drivers to spin and forcing the Safety Car to be deployed at the start of lap two.
The opening lap still allowed Smith to make up ground to move into fourth while Herron lost four places to lie in eighth.
Racing resumed on lap four with the race distance extended to 18 laps. MacDowall made the most of the restart to lead from Glew and Tordoff closely followed by Smith, Coastal Racing's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) and Range Storage Ltd with Coastal Racing's Lee Pattison (Liversedge).
By lap eight, a determined Glew was close enough to challenge for MacDowall's lead but in doing so he allowed Tordoff to catch with the first year driver also setting the NGK fastest lap on the same lap. Meanwhile behind the front runners, Pattison had been able to pass Bradley at Riches to move into fifth with Herron also making up a place to move into seventh.
As the race continued, the rain began to increase making track conditions tricky, so much so that it caused race leader MacDowall to go sideways into the Esses allowing Glew to move into the lead.
Phil had little time to settle into his new position though as the next lap he too got out of shape at the Esses allowing not just MacDowall but a waiting Tordoff to slip by. The championship leader tried hard to make amends in the subsequent laps but the continuing rain made conditions very difficult for all drivers who had started the race on slick tyres.
With no improvement in the weather, the Clerk of the Cause called a halt to proceedings for reasons of safety, deploying the red flag after 13 laps and leaving MacDowall to take victory with Tordoff in a deserved second to give a one-two for Total Control Racing. Glew finished third with Pattison eventually coming fourth after finding a way passed Smith with Herron settling for sixth. Amery Motorsport's Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) also impressed in the round making up eight places to finish 10th and earn the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day.
Commenting on his performance at the weekend Tordoff said: "It's been an absolutely fantastic weekend for me and TCR. When we arrived here before the weekend I would have been happy with a top 10 finish so I never once thought I'd be standing on the winning step of the podium! I was a little too cautious in round 13 and didn't get the best of starts but managed to hang on. In round 14, it was really tough keeping Glew behind me but it was mainly a case of not making any mistakes and trusting the set up of the car which has been spot on."
Commenting after his win in round 13 MacDowall said: "The conditions were really tricky especially through the Esses where a lot of it was in shadow. It was a good race though and despite going sideways through the Esses which allowed Glew through, he outbraked himself the next lap to hand back the lead. This win has certainly helped my championship hopes but I really need Phil to have a couple of bad rounds."
Championship leader Glew, commenting on his weekend, said: "In round 13 MacDowall was pushing too hard through the Esses which allowed me to go through but the next lap the rain increased and I carried too much speed into the same corner which allowed Sam and Alex to pass. In Sunday's race [round 13] Sam drove really well and I was conscious to play it safe rather than risk a move which could see me spin out. The weekend has certainly shown that TCR are getting quicker though."
Herron, who finished third in round 14, commented: "Snetterton is one of the hardest tracks to pass on so it's often a case of waiting for the driver in front to make a mistake which in this case just never came. I had good pace this weekend and pleased to come away with a podium and more championship points."
Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at Silverstone National circuit on 29th/30th August 2009.
-credit: renault uk