NEWSHAM CROWNED CLIO CUP CHAMPION ON HOME CIRCUIT Inverness racer Dave Newsham secured the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin championship in impeccable style this weekend on his home circuit of Knockhill to become the third consecutive...
NEWSHAM CROWNED CLIO CUP CHAMPION ON HOME CIRCUIT
Inverness racer Dave Newsham secured the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin championship in impeccable style this weekend on his home circuit of Knockhill to become the third consecutive Team Pyro run driver to lift the title.
The newly crowned champion, who now joins previous title holders including Phil Glew and Tom Onslow-Cole, collected the prestigious honours by dominating rounds 15 and 16 of the series held on 4th/5th September with two lights-to-flag victories.
The 43-year-old former Legends racer also wrapped up the inaugural NGK Spark Plugs Master Cup category during the weekend which marked the return of the one-make series to the Dunfermline track after a four year absence.
"I'm still shaking," commented Newsham as he got out of his car after clinching the title, adding: "It's just been a phenomenal year and I can't thank my sponsors enough as well as Team Pyro for giving me a fantastic car all season."
Meanwhile JHR Developments' Lee Pattison (Liversedge) enjoyed two second places with Westbourne Motorsport's Ed Pead (Northampton), filling in for father-to-be Patrick Collins (Spaldwick), collecting two third places on his return to the championship since 2007.
Total Control Racing's James Dixon (Maidstone) picked up both the Graduate Cup honours while Newsham took away the Masters Cup class wins.
Dominant Dave does double...
With the chance to take the championship title on his home circuit, Dave Newsham needed little encouragement during Saturday's qualifying session and duly took his 13th and 14th Michelin pole positions to head the field for both rounds. Even using a previously untried set-up, the Scot lapped the 1.3-mile track effortlessly with Pattison taking second followed by Pead and Dixon with team-mate Sam Tordoff (Leeds) in sixth.
Needing just 22 points to lift the title crown, Newsham charged off the line as the lights went out for the start of the 22-lap round 16. The local racer soon led the field into the first corner followed by Pattison and Tordoff (Leeds) who had squeezed into third place despite starting sixth on the grid.
By the end of the first lap Newsham had already opened up a gap of three-to-four car lengths and on his way to securing the title. Meanwhile Pattison had his mirrors full of Tordoff with the two nose-to-tail especially when braking for the Hairpin. This was allowing Pead, in fourth, to close in while Ed's team-mate James Colburn (Worthing) was also gaining ground behind claiming eighth place from JHR's Steven Hunter (Dronfield).
Colburn continued to charge and soon set the NGK Spark Plugs fastest lap together with a new lap record on lap 10. Before then Tordoff had slipped down the order, and continued to fall, suffering with damaged steering.
Despite a lose undertray, Newsham was having no such issues out in front enjoying almost a three second lead. With just a few laps remaining Newsham was on course for win number 12 and, as if by magic, managed to encourage the sun to shine for the first time that day. As he has done all season, Newsham controlled the race from the front and as he exited the Hairpin for the final time he weaved from side-to-side as he crossed the line for the win, the Masters Cup honours and, more importantly, the championship title.
Pattison finished second with Pead -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Meeting -- in third. Dixon came home in fourth as well as the Graduate Cup winner with team-mate Mike Robinson (Surbiton) rounded off the top five.
Newsham took full advantage of his Michelin pole position as Saturday's round 15 got underway closely followed by fellow front-row sitter Pattison and Team Pyro/Autosave's Jake Packun (Bolton) who had made a blistering start from sixth on the grid. Newsham led the field through the first right-hander as the field jostled for position around the picturesque circuit. With Packun in third, Pead had been shuffled down to fourth with team-mates Tordoff and Dixon swapping paint for fifth and sixth.
The following lap as Newsham extended his lead Pead was able to slip by Packun to move into third showing the three-time Vice Champion had not lost his touch. Pattison had also clipped the gravel along the straight to lose time and fall into the clutches of Pead.
The order remained unchanged until lap five when Packun, running side-by-side with Tordoff, ran wide at Clark's causing the whole field to bunch up through Hislop's and into the braking zone for the Hairpin. Tordoff then suffered a blown front left tyre and with the pack running so close, contact ensued forcing the retirements of Tordoff, Hunter and Robinson.
After the dust had settled, the field settled down into their stride with Newsham continuing to stretch his lead. A mistake by Pattison at the chicane allowed Newsham to pull away further whilst also allowing Pead to close in on Lee's Clio.
Further back Colburn was all over the back of Dixon's car in the battle for fourth as well as the Graduate Cup honours. Colburn's best chance came on lap 13 when he darted right and then left at the Hairpin only for Dixon to shut the door and hold position.
The race then belonged to Newsham, together with the NGK Spark Plugs Master Cup honours, and with Tordoff not finishing, the title was now his for the taking on Sunday's round 16. Pattison and Pead collected the remainder of the podium places while Dixon, who also picked up the NGK Spark Plugs fastest lap, came home just ahead of Colburn to finish fourth and also collect the Graduate Cup class win. 20Ten Racing's Darren Wilson (Newark) also enjoyed a career best seventh place.
Commenting on his double win and new title crown a delighted Newsham said: "This is just an unbelievable feeling. To win not only both races but the championship on my home track is just a dream come true. My first year in Clios was a learning curve but thanks to Team Pyro I've been on the pace right from the first lap and I can't thank them, and my sponsors, enough for their support. It would be amazing to be here next year driving in the British Touring Car Championship and that's certainly my goal. We're currently working hard at securing a drive with one of the top teams but we'll just have to see."
Double second place driver Pattison said: "Despite the two podiums, I've just not been able to hook it up this weekend. The car has been great and I love this track but I've not been at my best. I've still really enjoyed the racing though and of course the two podiums."
Pead who picked up both third places said: "I've not raced since 2007 but it's great to be back competing again and to be on the podium. I've really enjoyed the weekend and showing that Westbourne Motorsport are just as competitive as any other Clio team."
Double Graduate Cup class winner Dixon added: "Round 15 was a good race and I'm pleased with getting the fastest lap. James (Colburn) kept pushing me throughout the race though which meant I was forced to defend for most of it. Sunday's round 16 was another good affair and it's great to be on the podium again."
Rounds 17 and 18 of the ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at Northamptonshire's Silverstone Grand Prix circuit as part of World Series by Renault on 18th/19th September.
-source: renault sport uk