MACDOWALL SECURES FIRST WIN AS GLEW EXTENDS LEAD Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) picked up his first win of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin during rounds seven and eight held at Cheshire's Oulton Park on 30th/31st...
MACDOWALL SECURES FIRST WIN AS GLEW EXTENDS LEAD
Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) picked up his first win of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin during rounds seven and eight held at Cheshire's Oulton Park on 30th/31st May. A double podium by Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) though still sees the 25-year-old racer leading the championship by a margin of 34-points.
Eighteen-year old MacDowall secured a lights-to-flag victory in round seven held on Saturday, 30th May followed by second place in round eight, broadcast on ITV4 on Sunday, 31st May. Glew mirrored Alex's performance by taking a win in round eight and a second in round seven, as well as both NGK fastest lap awards earning him four bonus championship points to continue his position at the top of the drivers' standings.
The weekend also saw Amery Motorsport's Dave Newsham (Inverness) and Total Control Racing's Mike Robinson (Surbiton, Surrey) pick up their first podiums of the season with two third places.
Glew back on top in round eight...
In front of crowds of thousands, both at the circuit and at home watching on ITV4, Glew -- who has yet to start a race away from the front row -- lined up on the grid as the Michelin pole-sitter with round seven race winner MacDowall alongside him.
As the lights went out on the sun-soaked circuit, it was Glew who made the best start to lead the field into Old Hall followed by MacDowall and Robinson. Team Pyro's Aron Smith (Dublin) also made a good start to see him in fifth place by the end of the opening lap chasing Newsham in fourth.
Glew looked to be making light work of the race until he locked up entering Hislop's on lap two forcing him to cut across the grass and allowing the Carlisle racer -- who recently finished second in an international Clio race held at the Nurburgring circuit -- to close right up.
In the midfield, a close battle was taking place between Newsham, Smith and Coastal Racing's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) who had also made up ground after starting on row five of the grid.
As the race progressed Newsham and Smith continued to jostle for position while JHR Development's Andrew Herron (Co. Down) was able to get ahead of Bradley. Herron then handed back two places after running wide at Lodge Corner.
As the leading pair of Glew and MacDowall continued to battle, behind them Herron, Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff (Leeds) and Mardi Gras Motorsport's David Dickenson (Keatingstown, IRE) went three abreast exiting Island Bend on lap eight of the 12 lap race. With neither driver willing to yield, contact was made by all drivers with Tordoff and Dickenson going into the tyre wall and ending their race. Herron continued on albeit with a damaged car.
With the two cars in a dangerous position, the Clerk of the Course was forced to deploy the Safety Car. However, after just one Safety Car lap, the race was red flagged and stopped inside the full distance due it nearing its allotted time allocation following a late start, combined with Outlon Park's curfew.
That left Glew -- who also took the NGK fastest lap -- to secure his sixth win with MacDowall picking up second. Robinson -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- finished third to give the 26-year-old racer his first visit to the podium. Despite spinning off due to his damaged car, Herron was still racing when the Safety Car was deployed and awarding him ninth.
MacDowall finally takes the top step...
Saturday's race, also held in glorious sunshine, saw MacDowall as the Michelin pole-sitter with Glew for company on the front row. As the race got underway, MacDowall made a great start to lead the field into Old Hall followed by Glew, Newsham and Herron. Despite starting ninth on the grid, Smith was already up to fifth by the end of the first lap with Tordoff making up a place to lie sixth ahead of Robinson and Bradley who had also made up ground.
Just a few laps in, MacDowall was already pulling away from Glew, while behind the front runners, a mistake by Smith at Hislop's on lap five caused him to spin and see an early end to the Irish racer's podium chances.
The next lap saw APO Sport's Alex Osborne (Northampton) clip the curb at the same place putting his car into a roll before landing upright. Osborne was unhurt, but with debris on the track the Clerk of the Course was forced to deploy the Safety Car.
Under Safety Car conditions, Glew was able to undue MacDowall's earlier good work before racing resumed on lap 10 with the race distance increased to 15 laps.
MacDowall made the most of his first ever restart as the race leader to lead once more followed by Glew, Newsham and Herron. As the race progressed, Glew continued to press hard, catching the 18-year-old under braking only for MacDowall to pull away on the straights.
In the battle for the top five, a mistake by Tordoff going into Old Hall allowed both Robinson and Bradley to pass dropping him down to seventh and facing the challenges of eighth place Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield), now running in the Total Control Racing car.
On the last lap, Glew made one final push to snatch the lead from MacDowall but Alex made his car as wide as possible for the remainder of the lap to claim his first Clio Cup victory by just 0.301s together with the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day. Glew was forced to settle for second but an earlier NGK fastest lap (1min 35.484s, 83.92mph average) - also setting a new lap record - earned him two bonus points to cap Alex's final tally. Newsham took third for his first podium with Herron in fourth and Robinson in fifth.
Commenting on his performance for the weekend, a delighted Phil Glew said: "This weekend has gone absolutely fantastic and it's great to get my momentum going again. In Saturday's race I was just waiting for Alex to make a mistake but it never came and it's just so hard to pass here. Today's race was going smoothly until I locked up going into Hislop's. I think there was oil or something on the track but I made sure I got the next four corners spot on."
Round seven winner MacDowall said: "I got a good start to take the lead and from then on I just tried to keep a cool head. I've never done a restart as leader before so when the Safety Car came out I knew it would be tough but I managed to keep Phil [Glew] in my mirrors for the rest of the race. I think the result in round eight could have been different had there been more laps as Phil was struggling a bit towards the end but I'm still pleased with how things have gone."
Newsham, who finished third in round seven, added: "This podium has been long overdue! I had a nightmare meeting at Donington Park with two DNS so this really makes up for it."
Third place in round eight, Robinson, said: "I'm very pleased to be on the podium. I've always gone well here at Oulton Park and this makes up for a disappointing start to the season."
Rounds nine and 10 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at North Yorkshire's Croft circuit on 13th/14th June.