Impressive Debut For Mills In Front Of 42,000 Strong Crowd Surrey-based Jason Mills made an impressive debut in front of a record crowd of 42,000 people this weekend at Brands Hatch as he took to the track for his first outing in the ELF Renault...
Impressive Debut For Mills In Front Of 42,000 Strong Crowd
Surrey-based Jason Mills made an impressive debut in front of a record crowd of 42,000 people this weekend at Brands Hatch as he took to the track for his first outing in the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Jamie Hunter Racing.
Following two 45 minute test sessions on Friday Mills faced qualifying which saw him take tenth for the first race and eighth place for the second race, "It was a steep learning curve for me, everyone is so closely matched pace wise, and it's easy to forget that these drivers have been in these cars for the whole season and this is my first weekend in the Clio Cup series. Qualifying was average; however we ended up safely inside the top 10 for both races." commented Mills.
With the Kent fog lingering the track conditions were far from ideal as drivers struggled to get warmth in their tyres on the way around to the grid. As the lights went out for race 1 everything seemed to be going well for the 20-year-old until he rounded Graham Hill bend and was forced wide and in to a spin as he put down the power out of the corner on cold tyres.
Despite dropping to last place Mills would make a spirited comeback as he lapped faster that the five cars in front of him, by the end of the race he had pulled himself back up to eleventh. "Putting the spin on lap one aside I'm really happy with my performance, I feel I put on a great show and proved that overtaking does happen in the Clio Cup series by climbing from last up to 11th. "said Mills.
The weather would prove to be a lot better on Sunday as the early fog cleared and the sun cut through the clouds. Starting from eighth on the grid this time Mills achieved a good start gaining three places on the opening lap. Throughout the race Mills outpaced his more experienced team-mate Lee Pattinson who would finish second place in the 2010 championship.
As the chequered flag came out Mills would take an impressive fifth place, giving a small taste of things to come in the future. "We started from P8 on the grid for Race 2, and we knew that a strong finish was on the cards if i could make a good start and battle my way through the first lap, and this is exactly what i did." he said.
"I made a mega getaway from the start and threaded my way through the middle of Robinson and Pattison, I then stuck to the outside of Paddock Hill Bend and Druids and eventually found myself in fifth place by the end of the first lap, I kept my head down and crossed the line in P5.
"I was ecstatic when i took the chequered flag and all the hard work we put in over the weekend had paid off, a great team effort and a special thanks to my driver coach Matt Kelly."
Summing up the weekend Mills commented: "Going into the weekend i knew it was going to be a very steep learning curve for me, however with the support from JHR and Matt, I knew that we had everything in place to come away with strong results.
"After a tough 2010 season I'm really pleased to end the season on a high, and after finishing P5 in Race 2 that really put the icing on the cake. We have many options me and Matt Kelly of Mattkelly.co.uk driver management team are looking into for 2011, so watch this space."
Matt Kelly of Mattkelly.co.uk driver management team added: "I was very pleased with the attitude and application that Jason bought to the weekend, It's a very competitive environment in the Clio Cup so to come away with a hard fought 5th Place in race two shows that he has a high level of ability and should consider a return to the Clio Cup for the 2011 season, it's a great end to what has been a hard year for Jason with many disappointments, so I was pleased to be able to contribute towards a great end of season result, and look forward to continuing to work with Jason"