DIXON SHINES ON DIFFICULT DAY FOR TCR AT KNOCKHILL ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie James Dixon provided the highlight performance for Wednesbury based Total Control Racing at Knockhill in Scotland on Sunday, 5th September, after driving to his...
DIXON SHINES ON DIFFICULT DAY FOR TCR AT KNOCKHILL
ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie James Dixon provided the highlight performance for Wednesbury based Total Control Racing at Knockhill in Scotland on Sunday, 5th September, after driving to his second Graduate Cup class win of the weekend during round 16 of the season.
The Kent 20-year-old, making his first ever appearance at the demanding Fife track, lined up fourth on the grid for the 22-lap encounter but at the start team-mate Sam Tordoff rocketed past into the top three from the third row.
Leeds-based Tordoff ran comfortably in third during the early laps with Dixon holding fifth place, just ahead of fellow TCR driver Mike Robinson. But as the race neared mid-distance, Tordoff came under pressure from the chasing pack of former multiple Vice-Champion Ed Pead, Dixon and Robinson.
Having defended well up to lap 11 Tordoff's race then went dramatically wrong when contact with Pead led to bent steering, meaning he would have to limp to the finish. Pead and Dixon both moved past at the hairpin and Robinson followed suit with Tordoff eventually slipping to a 10th place finish.
Dixon and Robinson remained close for the remainder of the encounter and at the chequered flag they were separated by only 0.4 seconds. Dixon's second fourth place of the weekend also gave him another win in the Graduate Cup class while Robinson's fifth spot consolidated the Effingham racer's top four championship position.
Speaking on the race, TCR team principal Lee Brookes said: "It's good to see James and Mike having a strong run to fourth and fifth, especially with James getting on the podium with his class win again, but we're all gutted for Sam who suffered from bent steering after contact with (Ed) Pead.
"Qualifying has been the main problem this weekend, we just didn't have the pace we should have and when you have to fight through from the third row like Sam did you're always in a position where you might end up with some trouble. Some of the things we tried this weekend didn't work but we aim to put that right during the next two rounds."
Disappointment for Breeze as he slips to second in G50 Cup
Erstwhile Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup championship leader Carl Breeze departed Knockhill having slipped to second in the title race following a very difficult day on Sunday, problems in rounds 21 and 22 of the campaign leading to a pair of minimal points scores.
In the second of the two races, Joachim Ritter led home the TCR attack with a strong performance at the wheel of his Ginetta G50 to come through from 11th on the grid into the top eight. He also set a fastest race lap within four 10ths of a second of team-mate Breeze's best.
Everything started to go wrong for Breeze on lap 12 when an ambitious move by Mark Davies up the inside of Aaron Williamson at the hairpin led to contact with the rear of Breeze's car. Tagging the TCR man into a spin, the resulting delay dropped him down to the tail of the field and all he could manage was a recovery into ninth place -- over 11 seconds adrift of Ritter.
The Danish driver was also delayed in the aforementioned incident and had to take avoiding action as he was close behind in 11th at that point. He came through strongly to post a fine eighth place, although he scored the equivalent of taking a top six result due to top two finishers Jonathan Adam and Nigel Moore running as non-scoring 'guest' entries at Knockhill.
In round 21, Breeze had more troubles to contend with when a potential podium went begging four laps from the finish after a small mistake under braking put him off the circuit and into the gravel at the hairpin. Dropping out of fourth place at that point, the Kings Lynn driver also had a further moment at Duffus Dip but did recover to 10th at the finish.
Ritter had his own moment on lap 11 which dropped him behind Davies and Colin White although he eventually got back ahead of Davies and just shaded the reigning Ginetta G20 Champion on the line by 0.043 seconds to take 11th position.
"It's certainly been one of those weekends", said Brookes, "We expected far more from it but, like in the Clios, the problems started with qualifying as we just didn't have the pace. Carl made a small mistake in the first of the races which didn't help but Joachim had a good run, particularly in the second one, to score quite heavily."
TCR will be back on track just two weeks from now, 18th/19th September, although the team's Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup and ELF Renault Clio Cup squads will be in action at two separate venues; the Clios will be running as part of the annual British 'World Series by Renault' festival at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit while the G50 Cup will run at Donington Park in support, as ever, of the BTCC.
2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd16): Drivers: 3rd Sam Tordoff, 325pts; 4th Mike Robinson, 290pts; 7th James Dixon, 189pts Team: 2nd Total Control Racing, 693pts
2010 Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup Standings (after Rd22): Drivers: 2nd Carl Breeze, 599pts; 7th Joachim Ritter, 240pts Team: 2nd Total Control Racing, 864pts