BEST CLIO CUP WEEKEND YET FOR 'DRIVER OF DAY' LLOYD ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie Daniel Lloyd concluded his most successful weekend of the season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 5th July, with two outstanding race ...
BEST CLIO CUP WEEKEND YET FOR 'DRIVER OF DAY' LLOYD
ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie Daniel Lloyd concluded his most successful weekend of the season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 5th July, with two outstanding race performances and the 'ELF/Atol Driver of the Day' accolade for round 11.
Racing as part of the support package to the British round of the World Series by Renault, the West Yorkshire 17-year-old scythed his way through the order during race one with some outstanding driving to rise from an uncharacteristic starting position of 18th place into the coveted top six.
Gaining an incredible 12 positions in one of the most fiercely contested Clio Cup encounters of the year so far, Scammonden-based Daniel equalled his career best category finish in front of a huge raceday crowd of 85,000 spectators -- the combined weekend total of 135,000 fans easily breaking the previous World Series by Renault record set at Silverstone last year.
In round 12, the Total Control Racing sensation backed up his earlier heroics with a very impressive seventh place finish from 12th position on the grid. Best of all, the ever-improving youngster raced wheel-to-wheel with, and defeated, reigning Clio Cup Champion Ben Winrow who made his return to the series this weekend.
Added to this was the fact Daniel posted the second fastest race lap in round 11 with a tremendous time of 2m10.385 seconds (141.9km/h) and the sixth quickest lap in the second encounter, indicative of the terrific progress he is consistently making in the country's most competitive one-make saloon car motor racing championship.
Commenting, Daniel said: "It's been a fantastic weekend, to take sixth place from 18th on the grid was unbelievable but to then get a seventh place in the second race and beat (Ben) Winrow in a straight fight really did cap things off brilliantly. We're getting stronger and stronger all of the time.
"I didn't get a fantastic start to the first race, I got caught up in a big scrap but just managed to get in front of them at the first chicane and then broke away. From then on I just caught the people up ahead and we had the pace to pick them off one by one. It's definitely my best drive in Clios. We did get a sixth place at Croft but that wasn't from 18th on the grid! It's been a superb weekend."
The build-up to the event wasn't the smoothest for Daniel with Friday's 40-minute free practice session ruined by multiple stoppages. During Saturday afternoon's half-hour qualifying run, Daniel was unfortunately baulked on his quickest laps which resulted in the lower-than-expected starting slot of 18th position for round 11 and 12th on the grid for round 12.
Although not making the best getaway from the grid at the start of race one, Daniel managed to gain four positions part way through the first tour and immediately set about catching team-mate Sam Tordoff ahead. Taking 13th place on lap two, he then passed fellow TCR driver Mike Robinson a lap later and moved into the top 10 on the fifth tour by deposing Aron Smith.
In scintillating form, Daniel emerged from a multi-car tussle over seventh place and gained three more positions in quick succession. On lap nine, he crowned a tremendous performance by moving into sixth place and pulled out an advantage of some 3.5 seconds over his pursuers during the final stages.
Lining up 12th on the grid for the second race, Daniel moved ahead of Smith on the opening lap to immediately gain a position and shadowed Robinson for the next two laps before making his move on the third tour to edge into the top 10.
By lap five, Daniel was in eighth place and catching 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup Champion Winrow as he lapped consistently faster than his vastly more experienced rival. On the penultimate tour, he then made his way past Winrow into seventh position to cap-off a truly remarkable weekend.
After such a superb weekend, Daniel has further consolidated his placing as the best of the category newcomers in ninth position in the standings. He is now just seven points shy of experienced saloon car racer Carl Bradley in eighth place and an enhanced 21 points clear of his closest pursuer, TCR team-mate Tordoff.
The ELF Renault Clio Cup now takes a four week break from action with rounds 13 and 14 of the 2009 championship taking place over the weekend 1st/2nd August at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk.
2009 Provisional ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd12): 1st Philip Glew, 349pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 270pts; 9th Daniel Lloyd, 145pts