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GLEWS SECURES 2009 CLIO CUP TITLE IN EMPHATIC STYLE Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) wrapped up the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin championship title in emphatic style by securing two impressive wins during rounds 17 and...

GLEWS SECURES 2009 CLIO CUP TITLE IN EMPHATIC STYLE

Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) wrapped up the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin championship title in emphatic style by securing two impressive wins during rounds 17 and 18 at Northamptonshire's Rockingham Motor Speedway on 19th/20th September.

The 26-year-old who has led the one-make series from the very first round, needed just 25-points from the weekend to secure the title yet scored two convincing victories (a total of 66 points) to put him 143-points clear of nearest rival Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) and hand his team its second consecutive driver title with two rounds left to play out.

Despite having not raced in the championship for more than six years, 2001 Clio Cup Champion Danny Buxton (Cheshire) in his Amery Motorsport car, made a welcome return by picking up two second places. Meanwhile JHR Developments Andrew Herron (County Down) and Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff (Leeds) each claimed a third place over the sun-soaked weekend.

Glew continues to rack up wins...

Broadcast live on ITV4, round 18 of the action-packed saloon-car series saw Glew take the Michelin pole-position honours, his ninth of the season, with rookie-racer Tordoff alongside him. The field's youngest competitor, 16-year-old James Colburn (Worthing) started third in his Westbourne Motorsport with Stancombe Vehicle Engineering car with MacDowall in fourth. The experienced Buxton qualified fifth.

As the lights went out for the start of the 14-lap race it was Glew who made the better start followed by Tordoff and Buxton with the former champion finding a way passed the rookie by the end of the first lap.

The race didn't have long to play out though as the Safety Car was deployed on lap two following contact in the midfield on the exit to Deene Hairpin. Amery Motorsport's Dave Newsham (Inverness) was one of those involved ending a disastrous weekend for the 42-year-old, especially after his maiden win at Silverstone.

Racing resumed on lap four with two extra laps added to the original total. Glew was faultless from the re-start to lead once more closely followed by Buxton and Tordoff.

Behind, Total Control Racing's Danield Lloyd (Huddersfield) was running strong in fourth although trying to defend from fifth place Herron who was eager to take his place. Colburn lay in sixth having not been able to capitalise on his good grid position.

As the race neared half distance, Glew was being caught by Buxton although the Lincolnshire racer responded by setting the NGK fastest lap on the 1.94-mile circuit with a time of 1m 30.670s (77.02mph average). The following lap, Herron had been able to pass Lloyd to move into fourth with the 21-year-old now turning his attention to the back of Tordoff's car.

In the midfield, MacDowall and Coastal Racing's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) were running nose-to-tail with Alex eventually getting the better of Bradley with a move up the inside at Deene Hairpin.

Two thirds race distance complete and Glew was now starting to edge away from Buxton who found himself coming under increasing pressure from Tordoff. This allowed Glew to continue to push which he did until the final lap before crossing the line for his second win of the weekend and a hatrick of victories. Buxton -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- hung on to finish second with Tordoff in third and Herron in fourth. Lloyd settled for fifth while further down the order Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Patrick Collins (Spaldwick) picked up a season best of 11th.

Glew secures title...

Round 17, held earlier on Sunday, saw Glew line up on the start grid as Michelin pole-sitter

after lapping in the low 1m 30s during qualifying. Newsham had qualified alongside Glew but was demoted to the back of the grid by the Clerk of the Course for not returning to parc ferme after qualifying. Rookie racers and team-mates Tordoff and Lloyd sat on row two with MacDowall down in sixth.

As the lights went out it was Glew who made the best start closely followed by Tordoff as the rest of the field jostled for position. At the tight Deene Hairpin, Tordoff and Glew ran wide allowing Lloyd to squeeze through into the lead with Glew holding on to second while Tordoff dropped down the order. Despite starting from the back of the grid, Newsham was already up to seventh with Buxton and Herron also running strong.

By the end of the first few laps Lloyd was leading followed by Glew, Buxton and Herron with MacDowall rounding off the top five. Despite it being his first time leading a Clio race, Lloyd looked to be running well with Glew only slightly gaining under braking. Behind Buxton was running strong and setting the NGK fastest lap on lap five -- just outside the lap record for the circuit.

Then on lap eight, Lloyd clipped the barrier on the exit to Brook damaging his front tyre and ending his race, handing the lead to Glew. Phil had little time to build any sort of lead though as the Safety Car was deployed the following lap to recover the car of Newsham who had spun at Gracelands and ending what was turning out to be a good recovery for the Inverness racer.

Racing resumed on lap 12 with the race distance increased to 16 laps. Glew -- who would later be awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- made the most of the restart while behind, Herron had been able to get the run on Buxton going side-by-side over the line before taking the place.

As the top three began to spread out, Team Pyro's Aron Smith (Dublin) and MacDowall were battling hard for fourth and fifth places with the two often nose-to-tail around the purpose built circuit. Outside the top five, Tordoff had recovered well after the opening lap to lie in eighth chasing seventh-placed Total Control Racing's Mike Robinson (Surbiton).

Glew meanwhile looked dominant out in front, as he has done all season, and with just one lap to go there was little Herron could do to stop him taking the chequered flag and his ninth win and securing the 2009 title crown. Herron finished second with Buxton rounding off the podium honours. Smith finished fourth with MacDowall forced to settle for fifth.

A post race investigation by the Clerk of the Course however handed Herron a time penalty for overtaking Buxton under Safety Car conditions and dropping him to third with Buxton promoted to second.

A jubilant Glew commenting on his weekend as the newly-crowned champion said: "I'm absolutely delighted and want to say a massive thank you to my team, sponsors friends and family who have been amazing throughout this year. I've loved every minute of this season and I have to confess I had a tear in my eye on the in-lap in round 17! The Clio Cup is a fantastic championship and a proven breeding ground for future BTCC drivers which is something I now plan to do for next year."

Commenting on his weekend Buxton said: "It's been six years since I was last in the series so to come back and get two second places is just fantastic. The car certainly felt different but thankfully it all came back to me and it's great to be on the podium again. I really enjoyed the racing especially with Phil as he's a good friend of mine."

Commenting on his performance, Herron said: "I had a little bit of an understeer problem but thankfully it didn't affect me too much. I thought I'd judged the re-start in round 17 to perfection as I saw Danny struggling a little through the last corner but it turns out that wasn't the case."

Third place in round 18 Tordoff said: "I'm very pleased to be on the podium again after Snetterton. In round 17 I made one or two mistakes which cost me but I was more controlled in round 18. Phil and Danny were just too quick for me though."

The final rounds (19 and 20) of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at Kent's Brands Hatch GP circuit on 3rd/4th October.

-credit: rumcc uk

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Series General
Drivers Sam Tordoff , Dave Newsham , Aron Taylor-Smith