NEWSHAM SECURES MAIDEN WIN AS GLEW EDGES EVER CLOSER TO TITLE CROWN Northamptonshire's Silverstone National circuit provided the setting for two thrilling rounds (15 and 16) of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at the weekend with...
NEWSHAM SECURES MAIDEN WIN AS GLEW EDGES EVER CLOSER TO TITLE CROWN
Northamptonshire's Silverstone National circuit provided the setting for two thrilling rounds (15 and 16) of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin at the weekend with Amery Motorsport's Dave Newsham (Inverness) securing his maiden Clio victory while championship leader Team Pyro's Phil Glew (Tothill, Lincolnshire) edged ever closer to the title crown.
Former Legends racer Newsham took the honours in round 15, held on Saturday, 29th August, followed by an equally impressive second place in Sunday's round 16 -- shown live on ITV4 -- to round off a fantastic weekend for the 42-year-old. Glew meanwhile mirrored Newsham's efforts over the action-packed weekend to move 111-points clear of nearest rival Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle) with just four rounds left to play out.
Despite damaging his title prospects with a retirement in round 16, 18-year-old MacDowall did take some consolation with a podium finish in Saturday's race while JHR Development's Tom Carnaby (Scunthorpe) took the remaining podium spot -- his best result of the season -- and ending a good weekend for first-year drivers.
In front of a packed Silverstone crowd, round 16 saw rookie-racer Carnaby as Michelin pole-sitter, a first for the former Ginetta Junior racer and showing the strength of this season's first-year drivers. Glew lined up alongside him followed by Range Storage Ltd with Coastal Racing's Lee Pattison (Liversedge), who won here in 2008, and Westbourne Motorsport with Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's James Colburn (Worthing) after lapping in the 1m 05s during Saturday's qualifying session -- well under the lap record for the 1.64-mile circuit (1m 06.247s). Title hopeful MacDowall was down in seventh after a disappointing session which the Carlisle racer put down to problems with his car's dampers.
As the light went out for the start of the 18-lap race, Carnaby took full advantage of his grid position to lead into Copse followed by Glew and Newsham as the remaining field jostled for position. A spin by Pattison at the first corner though caused his car to make contact with both Colburn and Coastal Racing's Ant Scragg (Tunbridge Wells) ending their races and forcing the Clerk of the Course to deploy the Safety Car at the end of the first lap. MacDowall was also court up in the incident giving him a damaged radiator and forcing him to retire.
When racing resumed on lap six, with the race distance increased to 21 laps, Carnaby led followed by Glew, Newsham, JHR Development's Andrew Herron (County Down) and Total Control Racing's Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield). Carnaby's lead was short lived however as the inexperienced racer went too cautiously into Becketts allowing Glew to slip by on the inside with Newsham following suit at Brooklands dropping Tom to third and then fifth a few laps later after running wide at Copse.
Meanwhile behind a great battle was developing between Herron and Lloyd for fourth and fifth places with the two making contact at Brooklands on lap 10 resulting in Herron losing places.
The close racing continued throughout the field and by the halfway stage Glew was leading from Newsham followed by the three-car-train of Team Pyro's Aron Smith (Dublin), who had earlier moved into third, Lloyd and Carnaby. Sixth and seventh placed Coastal Racing's Carl Bradley (Morecambe) and TCR's Sam Tordoff (Leeds) -- who recently scored a double podium at Circuit Zolder competing in the Belgium Clio Cup Championship -- were also battling hard.
Two thirds race distance completed and Glew and Newsham began to edge away while behind the positions were changing almost every lap with Lloyd now moving into a podium finish followed by Carnaby and Smith. With places swapping so frequently, the only sureties looked to be the two front runners with the 26-year-old Glew developing more a second advantage over his Inverness challenger.
Four laps remained as the battle for the podium continued with Carnaby seizing on a gap left by Lloyd at Becketts to snatch the place with Lloyd shortly dropping down the order to seventh and moving Smith into fourth. Bradley, now in fifth, was still managing to keep a determined Tordoff in his mirrors despite the 20-year-old's best efforts.
On the last lap Glew was on course for his eighth win of the season which he duly gained finishing just under three seconds ahead of Newsham who together with his win on Saturday rounded off a great weekend. Carnaby crossed the line in third to grab his first podium with Smith in fourth and Bradley in fifth.
A late dash by Gaffney grabbed eighth place from Herron with just 0.004s separating the two drivers. Meanwhile Robinson -- who was awarded the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day -- had worked his way from the back of the grid -- due to a spin in qualifying -- to finish a respectable 10th as well as secure the NGK fastest lap and a new lap record with a time of 1m 05.502s (90.07mph average). However, following a post race investigation by the Clerk of the Course, Lloyd was handed both a time and a points penalty demoting the rookie racer to ninth.
Saturday's round 15 saw Glew in familiar territory as Michelin pole-sitter, his seventh of the season, with Newsham alongside him on the front row.
Despite a good start by Newsham, Glew was just able to keep hold of the inside line going into Copse and emerge as race leader as behind the packed field of drivers tried to improve their position.
By the end of the first lap, Glew was out in front followed by Newsham and then Smith although the Irish racer had deemed to have incorrectly lined up on the start grid, handing him a drive-through penalty. Seventeen-year-old Carnaby was looking strong in fourth with MacDowall in fifth after starting ninth on the gird.
In the opening stages, Glew was trying hard to pull away from Newsham but the Amery Motorsport driver was able to match him for pace. Behind, Carnaby had moved into a podium finish after Smith had served his penalty although the teenager was now having to defend from the challenges of MacDowall.
Meanwhile in the midfield, first-year drivers Elite Motorsport's Jake Packun (Bolton), Colburn and Lloyd were all running well with Lloyd in particular looking quick and briefly setting the NGK fastest lap before Robinson took the honours.
Out in front, Newsham was gaining on Glew in the battle for the lead while just behind, MacDowall was now right on the back of Carnaby's Clio. The Scunthorpe driver tried hard to keep MacDowall at bay but Alex got a good run out of Woodcote on lap 11 to go side-by-side over the start/finish line and slip by him on the inside of Copse.
With Pattison comfortable in fifth, the rookie battle behind was continuing to intensify with Lloyd now into sixth, Packun in seventh and Colburn in eighth. The action was just as close up front as on lap 15 of 18, Glew left a slight gap at Brooklands allowing Newsham to draw alongside. The two drivers then went side-by-side exiting the corner with a title-focused Glew choosing to yield.
Newsham, leading his first ever Clio race, was able to keep Glew in his rear view mirrors for the remaining few laps and with the chequered flag insight, he crossed the line to take his first win along with the ELF/Atol Driver of the Day award. Glew settled for second with MacDowall taking the remaining podium spot after making up six places. Carnaby picked up fourth with Pattison rounding off the top five. Despite starting last, Robinson ended up with a respectable 11 points from a 12th place finish together with two points for the NGK fastest lap.
A post race investigation by the Clerk of the Course saw Packun and Herron both handed time penalties, dropping them to eighth and 10th places respectively.
Commenting on his performance at the weekend a delighted Newham said: "It's been a
fantastic weekend for me and credit has to go to the team for doing a great job on the car. In round 15 I got a good run out of Brooklands and Phil gave me enough room to get through to move into the lead. In Sunday's race Tom left a gap and I managed to get by to take the place. I'm really looking forward to the next rounds at Rockingham at it's a circuit I enjoy and performed well on in last year's Winter Cup."
Commenting on his weekend, championship leader Glew said: "I'm delighted with how things have gone and I'm really starting to think about the championship now. In Saturday's race Dave had been gaining on me for a couple of laps and then through Luffield he'd been able to brake later and get the run on me for the lead. In round 16 Tom was a little hesitant on the restart and I managed to pass him early on and claim the win which I haven't done for a while."
Commenting after his third place in round 15 MacDowall said: "I got a good start and managed to make up a few places early on and suddenly found myself in fourth. I got the run on Carnaby out of the last corner and over the start/finish line and held the line going into Copse to pass him. It's a good result for me but disappointed not to have qualified higher up which meant I wasn't in a position to challenge Phil."
Third place in round 16 Carnaby added: "I'm absolutely over the moon with the podium! I knew it would be tough with so many good drivers around me and I did make some mistakes, especially at the restart where I was just too cautious. I've shown I've got the pace though this weekend and delighted with the result."
Rounds 17 and 18 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup with Michelin take place at Rockingham Motor Speedway on 19th/20th September where the Renault Sport UK charity duathlon will also be held (September 18th).
-credit: rumcc uk