DIXON EARNS THIRD PODIUM OF SEASON AT SILVERSTONE GP Kent racing driver James Dixon delivered a fantastic performance at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 19th September, to take the third podium finish of his maiden season...
DIXON EARNS THIRD PODIUM OF SEASON AT SILVERSTONE GP
Kent racing driver James Dixon delivered a fantastic performance at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 19th September, to take the third podium finish of his maiden season in the ELF Renault Clio Cup -- a superb drive to second place in round 18 watched by 120,000 spectators.
Markedly improving throughout his first season in saloon cars, having switched disciplines from the ranks of single-seater competition in time for the second event of the current Clio Cup campaign, the 20-year-old has been a revelation and boosted his growing reputation yet further this weekend.
Racing as part of the support package to the British round of the World Series by Renault tour, James overcame the disappointment of a steering and suspension failure in round 17 on Saturday to mount a great performance in today's outing; finishing runner-up to former double champion Paul Rivett.
Lining up for round 18 fourth on the grid, the highest placed of Total Control Racing's three drivers, the ABP Heating and Weidmuller-backed racer moved into third on the first lap with a great move at Club and set about chasing newly crowned 2010 champion Dave Newsham and pole-sitter Rivett.
As the laps counted down, James continued to hold third well but with team-mate Sam Tordoff closing in it spurred him on even more to try and catch the duo ahead. Then, a couple of laps from the finish, a puncture forced Newsham to slow so James moved through into second to take his third runner-up spot of the year.
"I'm really pleased to be back on the podium", said the Stockbury based driver, "Obviously, I want to thank my sponsors ABP Heating and Weidmuller for their fantastic support and for enabling me to race in Clios this season. Starting fourth on the grid, I knew I had to get behind Newsham and Rivett quickly so I passed (James) Colburn at Club on lap one and then pulled a gap.
"After a while I could see Sam (Tordoff) catching me but I knew I could hold on to third so a podium finish was safe. Then, a couple of laps from the end, Newsham had a slow puncture so I moved into second. We really wanted to aim for a podium this weekend, it's great to do well at such a big event as it can only be good for getting my name out there."
During testing on Friday afternoon, James started the weekend impressively with the second fastest time. Into qualifying on Saturday he aimed for a spot on the first couple of rows of the grid and ended up with a third row start, sixth place, for round 17 and fourth on the grid for round 18.
The wet first race didn't go to plan though, unfortunately, when some robust contact on the opening lap led to steering damage which would eventually force James' Weidmuller and ABP Heating liveried car into retirement. Dropping to 14th place on lap one after being hit, he mounted a recovery and set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2m33.347 seconds on the second tour.
On the penultimate lap though, his damaged steering finally gave way and also led to the collapse of his front suspension which pitched him off the circuit into an unfortunate retirement. Even so, his second place finish in round 18 means James leaves Silverstone seventh in the championship -- he's now just 25 points outside the top six.
Up next on the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup calendar will be the final two rounds of the season which take place three weeks from now, 9th/10th October, at James' local track -- Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.