UK Winter: Series Rockingham summary

LLOYD SECURES WINTER CUP TITLE BY NARROWEST OF MARGINS Total Control Racing's Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield) secured the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Winter Cup with Michelin title by a margin of just one point in a thrilling final round at ...

LLOYD SECURES WINTER CUP TITLE BY NARROWEST OF MARGINS

Total Control Racing's Daniel Lloyd (Huddersfield) secured the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Winter Cup with Michelin title by a margin of just one point in a thrilling final round at Northamptonshire's Rockingham Motor Speedway on Saturday, 7th November. The 17-year-old who finished 11th in the 2009 season took two second places over the weekend but it was the two bonus points awarded for setting the fastest lap of the race which was key to him finishing one point ahead of team-mate Sam Tordoff (Leeds).

Despite winning round two, fellow Yorkshireman Tordoff, who also picked up a third place in the series opener, was unable to match Lloyd's pace who set a 1m 30.462 (77.20mph average) around the 1.94-mile circuit -- just outside the 1min 30.128s (Ben Winrow, 2008) lap record. Westbourne Motorsport's James Colburn (Worthing), who recently turned 17, also impressed during the weekend mirroring Tordoff's efforts with a win and a third place. The two finished level on points (57) but with Tordoff clinching the runners-up spot due to his better result in the final round.

The weekend also saw three newcomers to the one-make series with Team Pyro's Luke Caudle (London) together with Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Paul Plant (Copthorne, West Sussex) and Matthew Munson (Burnham).

Final round thriller...

Following the day's earlier qualifying session it was Leeds racer Tordoff who lined up as pole-sitter although he was unable to take advantage of his grid position when the lights went out leaving Lloyd to lead the field into the tight Deene Hairpin. Plant had also been able to make a great start to move from the back of the grid to fourth by the end of the first lap.

On lap three of the 12-lap race, second-place Tordoff made a dart up the inside of Deene for the lead with Lloyd holding the defensive line only to succumb to Tordoff's pressure through Yentwood.

With Tordoff now leading, Lloyd tried hard to regain his place whilst at the same time mindful of third place Colburn who had looked quick all weekend. A few laps later, Lloyd put in a blistering lap to not only close in on the leader but also to secure what would become the fastest lap of the race.

Meanwhile just outside the top three, newcomer Plant, fresh from winning the 2009 Alfa Romeo Championship, was now being reeled in by the more experienced Darren Wilson (Newark) running with brand new Clio Cup team 20Ten Racing. On the penultimate lap the two ran side-by-side going into Tarzan with Plant just holding on to his fourth place.

Out in front, 20-year-old Tordoff duly crossed the line to take the win with Lloyd finishing a mere 0.660s behind and Colburn securing another podium spot following his maiden win in round one.

Colburn secures maiden victory...

It was tyre choice which ultimately proved decisive in round one with driver's facing a damp but trying track. Tordoff, on pole, chose to run on full wets as did team-mate Lloyd who lined up alongside him. Colburn however, like many in the field, favoured to run with slicks on the front and wets on the rear.

As the lights went out it was Tordoff who made the better start to lead followed by Lloyd with Colburn in third. Entering Champman Curve for the first time, Lloyd made a move on his team-mate to grab the lead and soon began to edge away. Tordoff however was now coming under increasing pressure from Colburn with the 17-year-old seizing his chance on the inside of Deene the following lap. The battle for third was far from over though as Tordoff retook the place at the same corner a lap later.

The next lap the two were once again side-by-side into Deene with Colburn again trying a move on Tordoff which saw him make contact with race-leader Lloyd in the process and dropping the Huddersfield racer down the field. Tordoff was now able to slip by into the lead followed by Colburn.

As the track continued to try, Tordoff began to struggle to find grip on his full wet set-up allowing Colburn to pass him on the inside of Tarzan. With a clear track and a better tyre selection, Colburn quickly began to pull away from Tordoff and Lloyd who was now running in third.

Tordoff's fortune didn't improve on lap eight as he ran wide at Tarzan from a combination of his tyre choice and what later transpired to be a fuel surge. This allowed Lloyd to move into second and Wilson to move into third. An ever resilient Tordoff though wasn't about to give up and managed to retake the final podium spot from the 43-year-old in the closing stages.

The chequered flag belonged to Colburn though who crossed the line with a massive 23.353s advantage over Lloyd together with the fastest lap. A post race investigation by the Clerk of the Course however saw the Worthing racer handed two penalty points for his contact with Lloyd.

Commenting on his Winter Cup victory Lloyd said: "I knew going into the final round how many points I needed to win the title and after Sam got passed me I decided to settle for the place and concentrate on setting the fastest lap which I got. I've really enjoyed my first season in Clio racing and this has been a great way to end the year. My plan is to return to the series in 2010 but that all depends on sponsorship."

Commenting on his weekend Tordoff said: "Dan and I were having a great battle in both races and was really pushing me. The tyre choice in round one proved crucial but I'm really pleased with the win in the second race."

Round one winner Colburn said: "I'm absolutely delighted with my first win and certainly hope to be back racing next year with Westbourne Motorsport."

-credit: rumcc uk

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Series General
Drivers Sam Tordoff , Darren Wilson , Daniel Lloyd