LLOYD STILL INSIDE CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10 AFTER TRICKY SNETTERTON WEEKEND Daniel Lloyd was undoubtedly one of the quickest ELF Renault Clio Cup competitors at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 1st/2nd August, during the seventh race meeting...
LLOYD STILL INSIDE CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10 AFTER TRICKY SNETTERTON WEEKEND
Daniel Lloyd was undoubtedly one of the quickest ELF Renault Clio Cup competitors at Snetterton in Norfolk over the weekend, 1st/2nd August, during the seventh race meeting of the season but a luckless qualifying session and two tricky races prevented him from making the most of his obvious pace.
The Scammonden-based championship rookie, who has been in fantastic front-running form over the course of the last few rounds, started the Snetterton weekend with blistering pace during Friday's practice sessions with a career best Clio Cup testing performance.
Posting the third fastest time in the morning, he went on to consolidate his excellent effort with a top six lap in the afternoon, even though in the second session he only had three flying laps in which to set a quick time after problems with a cracked brake disc and a subsequent session stoppage.
Heading into Saturday's qualifying period with deserved confidence, the West Yorkshire 17-year-old wasn't able to replicate his stunning test pace due to a problem with the left-rear tyre on his car and so he ended up qualifying 14th fastest for round 13 and 12th on the grid for round 14.
Although disappointed with the qualifying troubles, Daniel knew he had the pace to come through into the top 10 in the races but Saturday afternoon's opening encounter went awry at the very first corner when heavy contact from behind forced him off the track and into an immediate retirement. Marking his first non-finish of the season, the category rookie was intent on making amends in round 14.
Lining up on row six for the second race, which was screened live on ITV4 across the UK, Daniel got off the line well but on the outside around the first corner he was pushed back to 15th position. Quickly hitting back though, he gained three places in one move into Russell Chicane at the end of lap one.
Running in 12th position into the second tour, the Total Control Racing driver slipped to 13th place towards the end of the lap but struck back two laps later with an attempted move on Robert Gaffney at the Esses. On the exit, Gaffney edged back ahead but Daniel wasn't to be denied and he moved back into the top 12 on lap seven.
With the midfield pack bunching up very tightly on lap eight out of Sear Corner , Daniel tried to move to the head of the group as the cars hurtled down Revett Straight and into the Esses but he was forced wide over the grass. Emerging out of the corner in 10th place, he pressed on and posted the fourth fastest race lap of 1m18.212 seconds on the 11th tour before grabbing ninth place from Jake Packun at the Esses two laps later.
After the race, officials adjudged Daniel to have gained an unfair advantage following his enforced lap eight excursion at the Esses and the resulting time penalty dropped him to 11th position. Even so, he still holds 10th place in the driver standings with 155 points, just 13 points behind experienced saloon car campaigner Carl Bradley.
"Obviously we're really disappointed with how things went in qualifying having been so strong in testing, after the practice sessions we had a lot of confidence", said Daniel, "Qualifying went completely wrong and we're not totally sure why but I wasn't happy with the left-rear tyre and I'm almost certain that's where the issue was.
"The first race was a disaster but at least in the second one we scored some good points and set the fourth fastest lap, just a couple of 10ths of a second off the fastest lap of the race. We have to look at it as a positive weekend due to the pace we had in testing and race two but overall it has been pretty disappointing. We've managed to stay in the championship top 10 though so that's good."
ELF Renault Clio Cup action now takes a four week break with rounds 15 and 16 of the season taking place on 29th/30th August at Silverstone. Marking the second time this year the championship will have visited the world famous Northamptonshire venue, the eighth race meeting of the campaign will be held on the shorter National Circuit rather than the full Grand Prix layout.
2009 Provisional ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd14): 1st Philip Glew, 402pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 326pts; 10th Daniel Lloyd, 155pts