UK: Total Control Racing Thruxton qualifying report

BREEZE BATTLES IN G50 AS TORDOFF TAKES FIRST CLIO PODIUM OF 2010 Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff came within just 0.395 seconds of winning the opening round of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Thruxton in Hampshire today, Saturday, 3rd April,...


Total Control Racing's Sam Tordoff came within just 0.395 seconds of winning the opening round of the 2010 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Thruxton in Hampshire today, Saturday, 3rd April, the 20-year-old racer taking an excellent second place finish in tricky, damp conditions.

The second year driver, bidding for his third career victory after enjoying success in 2009 in the main Clio Cup championship and the end-of-year Winter Cup, qualified in third place for the opening race of the new season while team-mate Mike Robinson was seventh fastest -- their respective lap times being 1m24.397 seconds (100.49mph) and 1m24.774 seconds (100.04mph).

Although slipping behind Jake Packun at the start, Tordoff managed to get back into third position before the cars headed up Woodham Hill and immediately started to make his presence felt as he closed in on second-placed Lee Pattison.

Into lap three, the top five cars were covered by just two seconds with Tordoff and Pattison locked in an incredible, tight battle. On the following tour though, the TCR ace made his move and took second place at the complex before mounting a stirring drive to reel-in race leader Dave Newsham.

Closing the gap lap-by-lap, Tordoff reduced the difference to less than a second as the race headed into the ninth tour but try as he might there just wasn't a way past the vastly experience former Legends racer. Building to a grandstand finish, the pair ran side-by-side through Noble, Goodwood and Church on the final lap but Newsham just managed to hold on for the win.

Robinson, meanwhile, had to battle back from the edge of the top 10 but did so well to claim an eighth place finish just a second outside the top six. In terms of lap times, the best from each of the TCR drivers was pretty evenly matched with Tordoff posting a fastest of 1m32.166 seconds and Robinson producing a quickest lap of 1m32.417 seconds.

Wednesbury-based TCR also had drivers in action in the Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup at Thruxton, category front-runner Carl Breeze delivering an outstanding performance to recover from a disappointing qualifying session, scything his way through the order for a fine fifth place finish.

Qualifying for the first round of Ginetta G50 didn't go as planned for TCR with both Breeze and team-mate Joachim Ritter missing out on the window of opportunity for slick tyres at the end of the 20-minute session. Running on treaded, wet-weather rubber from the off, after changing to slicks the duo were unfortunate to just run out of time before the tyres reached optimum performance.

At the start of the race, Breeze made a terrific getaway and drove a supreme first lap to climb from 14th on the grid into seventh place. Pressing on to get on terms with the top six, the former BTCC racer and Formula Renault UK Champion gained another position on lap four and then quickly moved into fifth where he remained to the chequered flag -- just over a second shy of the podium.

Ritter managed to salvage a top 12 result from the first Ginetta G50 Cup race of the weekend after a difficult race in the midfield. Sporting damage to the rear of his car, he still climbed from 15th on the grid to record a solid start to his campaign.

"It all worked out quite well in the end for us", said TCR team principal Lee Brookes, "Carl did a great job to come through from 14th on the grid into fifth in the Ginetta. He made a good start, had a very good first lap and was then consistently fast. Unfortunately we missed the qualifying window with Carl and Joachim but he still managed a 12th place finish, even though he had some contact.

"As in the Ginetta session, we didn't quite get qualifying right for the Clios but Sam drove a bloody good race and proved he had the pace by catching Newsham even though he had built quite a good gap. He deserved second place but could easily have had a win. Mike managed to get a decent finish in the end even though he was pushed back a bit early on. All in all it's not been a bad start for us."

TCR's Michelin Ginetta G50 Cup drivers will kick-off the action for the team tomorrow, Sunday, 4th April, with round two of the season scheduled to get underway at 10.45 and round three set to follow at 15.45. Round two of the ELF Renault Clio Cup, meanwhile, is expected to commence at 12.50. Live television coverage will be screened on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.

-source: total control racing

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Carl Breeze , Sam Tordoff