DIXON TAKES OUTSTANDING DOUBLE VICTORY DURING CLIO CUP FINALE ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie James Dixon ended his debut campaign in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder category on a maximum high at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on...
DIXON TAKES OUTSTANDING DOUBLE VICTORY DURING CLIO CUP FINALE
ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie James Dixon ended his debut campaign in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder category on a maximum high at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Sunday, 10th October, with two outstanding race wins -- his first ever victories in car racing.
The Kent 20-year-old, who is based close to the track in nearby Stockbury, was in imperious form throughout the weekend and after blitzing qualifying on Saturday to claim pole position for both races he scorched to a pair of memorable victories; made all the sweeter as he defeated double former Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett -- a renowned Brands Hatch specialist -- in the process.
Such was James' level of performance in rounds 19 and 20, the ABP Heating and Weidmuller-backed racer managed to overturn a 21 point deficit in the driver standings to leap into the coveted top six in the championship, an impressive feat considering he only contested 16 of the season's 20 races.
"It's a perfect end to the year and my confidence is absolutely sky high now", said the Total Control Racing ace, "I want to be back in Clios next year and have a real shot at the championship -- I really think we can try and win it. Taking both pole positions was one thing but to convert them both into wins is just incredible. I'm over the moon, thank you so much to my sponsors and the team."
During Saturday morning's fiercely contested qualifying session, James grabbed pole for round 19 with a time of 52.167 seconds (82.71mph) and doubled up with his second fastest lap, 52.218 seconds, to take the pole start for round 20 as well.
At the beginning of the first encounter on Saturday afternoon, the first year saloon car racer made a good start and held his lead on the inside through Paddock Hill Bend. The action at the front was incredibly close with Rivett piling on the pressure but James proved more than a match, even when Rivett posted a brand new Clio Cup lap record for the 1.2-mile Indy Circuit of 52.344 seconds.
Five laps later, James set his personal best lap of the race with a time just a 10th of a second shy of Rivett's benchmark and although the latter got menacingly closer the TCR youngster was able to hold on, hit his apexes and keep the line covered to give Rivett no chance to attempt a pass.
At the chequered flag on lap 20, only 0.186 seconds separated the pair as James took his maiden win since graduating to car racing a couple of years ago and made his mark as a future title contender in the all-action ELF Renault Clio Cup.
In the final round, James wasn't able to get away from pole position as well as he wanted and looked set to slip to second place but a great piece of driving into Paddock Hill Bend ensured he remained in the lead.
Building a small cushion over his pursuers, he controlled the race at the front and by lap nine his advantage was just over a second from Rivett. On lap 11, James posted the fastest lap of the race with a time of 52.593 seconds (82.04mph) -- just 0.2 seconds shy of the lap record -- and he drove immaculately to win again.
"The car has been absolutely fantastic all weekend, the team has done an outstanding job", added James. "We changed things a little bit in the second test session on Friday to give it a bit more rake on the front and that gave me so much more grip. I'm over the moon to have done this at my home track and in front of the local spectators -- it just doesn't get any better.
"Paul (Rivett) is an incredibly talented driver, he's a double champion and has so much experience. He knows how to drive a car when the tyres are going off and that makes so much difference. To beat him twice this weekend gives me so much more confidence and belief in myself. If we can get some testing done ahead of next season, I think we can mount a fight for the title next year."
James wishes to thank everyone at Total Control Racing for their superb help throughout the season and also his hugely important sponsors, ABP Heating and Weidmuller, without whom his 2010 racing campaign wouldn't have been possible.
Final 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup standings: Champion: Dave Newsham, 529pts; 6th James Dixon, 285pts