DIXON ENDS SEASON ON HIGH WITH DOUBLE VICTORY IN FRONT OF HOME CROWD Local racer James Dixon (Stockbury) ended his 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin campaign on a high during the final rounds of the season by taking two lights-to-flag ...
DIXON ENDS SEASON ON HIGH WITH DOUBLE VICTORY IN FRONT OF HOME CROWD
Local racer James Dixon (Stockbury) ended his 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin campaign on a high during the final rounds of the season by taking two lights-to-flag victories at Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 9th/10th October.
The Total Control Racing driver converted both his Michelin pole positions into flawless wins during rounds 19 and 20 to end the season sixth overall. Meanwhile double Clio Cup champion Paul Rivett (Banstead) followed Dixon home in both action-packed rounds in his BlueSquare Data/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering run car.
Westbourne Motorsport duo of James Colburn (Worthing) and rookie Josh Cook (Bath) picked up the remaining podium places with Sax Max Champion Cook once again impressing in only his third and fourth Clio Cup races.
The meeting's Graduate Cup honours went to Dixon while JHR Developments' Lee Pattison (Liversedge) and Westbourne Motorsport's Patrick Collins (Spaldwick) secured the NGK Spark Plugs Master Cup class wins.
Despite racking up 102-points at the weekend, Lee Brookes' TCR squad were unable to clinch the entrants' honours losing out to Team Pyro by just three points. The weekend also saw the debut of three new Clio Cup drivers with TCR's Andy Jordan (Bridgnorth), 20Ten Racing's Craig Curie (Newark) and JHR Developments' Jason Mills (Surrey).
Dixon does the double...
With the absence of the dominate champion Dave Newsham this weekend, the final two rounds at the 1.2-mile Kent circuit allowed some new faces to occupy the P1 spot. That honour went to local driver Dixon who took full advantage of his countless hours spent driving the circuit as a racing instructor to bag both poles.
The final round of the season then, watched in front of a record 42,000 crowd, saw Dixon head the field with 19-year-old Cook alongside him. Rivett had qualified in P2 for the race but following two penalty points for contact with Josh in round 19, the 31-year-old was also demoted two grid places.
As the lights went out for the start of the 20-lap race Dixon struggled to get off the line with Cook briefly going ahead until a tap from a charging Jack Goff (High Wycombe), driving for Team Pyro, assisted the 20-year-old back into the lead.
By the end of the first lap Dixon was leading from Cook and Rivett with Goff in fourth and newcomer Mills in an impressive fifth place. After a poor opening lap, TCR's Mike Robinson (Surbiton) was trying hard to make amends passing Team Pyro/Autosave's Jake Packun (Bolton) at Paddock Hill Bend for ninth. Robinson continued his charge to eventually finish seventh.
Out in front Dixon looked cool and calm while Cook was being forced to soak up immense pressure from Rivett who did eventually get the better of him on lap eight with a move at Paddock Hill Bend.
In the midfield a great battle was taking place between Pattison, Robinson and Colburn with Lee dragging a damaged rear bumper around with him before being shown the black and orange flag and pitting. Currie, Collins and 20Ten Racing's Darren Wilson (Newark) were also having a good three-car tussle further back as the laps ticked by to end of the race.
Just a few laps now stood between Dixon and win number two as the former Formula Renault UK racer continued to push and setting the NGK Spark Plugs Fastest Lap in the process. Rivett had no reply for Dixon's pace as James took the chequered flag for the second time of the weekend along with the Graduate Cup class win.
Rivett and Cook -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting -- joined him on the podium with Josh in particular showing great form despite his limited Clio experience. Goff picked up a career best fourth with Mills rounding off the top five after keeping a determined Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey), racing for Meridian Motorsport, at bay. Collins finished 11th to secure the NGK Spark Plugs Masters Cup honours.
Dixon delivers in round 19...
Dixon and Cook occupied the front row for the start of Saturday's round 19 which for the first time ever was being streamed live on www.itv.com. As racing got underway, it was Cook who actually got the better start with Dixon just holding onto the lead with the aid of the inside line. Rivett was briefly up into second on the run into Druids but a determined Cook, in only his third ever Clio race, held the double champion behind him.
A good start by Colburn helped him gain ground in the early stages with Packun also moving up to ninth place despite starting from the back of the field after suffering with difficulties to his fly wheel during qualifying. The Bolton racer then gained another place at the expense of Gaffney at Druids to move into eighth where he remained.
The order remained unchanged at the front until on lap five at Clearways, slight contact between Rivett and Cook saw Josh get out of shape allowing the gaggle of chasing cars behind him to pass and eventually leave him in fifth place.
Race leader Dixon though was looking unfazed putting in consistent lap times in his TCR backed car. Rivett however was also looking quick, despite his contact with Cook affecting his car's handling, and shortly set the NGK Spark Plugs Fastest Lap along with a new lap record of 52.344s (82.43mph average).
Rivett never looked like catching the local racer though who duly crossed the line for his maiden win - together with the Graduate Cup - with Rivett taking the chequered flag just 0.186s behind him. Colburn secured the remaining podium spot after holding off Robinson, who took fourth, for the entire race while Cook took some encouragement from a top five finish. A solid sixth position by Pattison earned him the NGK Spark Plugs Master Cup honours.
Commenting on his performance Dixon said: "It's been a fantastic weekend for me, especially on my home circuit. Paul put a lot of pressure on me in round 19 and I always had to keep one eye on my mirrors. It was a similar story in round 20, plus I didn't get the best of starts although the tap from Jack Goff certainly helped. I'm still weighing up my options for next year but Clio Cup is certainly one of them."
Rivett who finished second in both rounds said: "It's been a great weekend to finish on and I can't thank BlueSquare Data and Stancombe Vehicle Engineering enough as without them I wouldn't be here racing. I'd love to come back next year and contest a full season but we'll just have to see how things go."
Third place in round 19 Colburn said: "I got a good start and just tried to keep up with Josh who has been outstanding this weekend. Mike [Robinson] pushed me the whole race which meant I had to defend but overall I'm pleased with the result."
Cook, who picked up his maiden podium in the final round, added: "I'm a little disappointed with Saturday's race so this makes up for it. I've only done a handful of rounds but things have gone well in all of them so I'm hoping to get the budget together to contest a full season in 2011."
-source: renault sport uk