ELF Renault Clio Cup front-runner Alex MacDowall secured the Vice-Champion’s position in the 2009 driver standings in grand style at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit today, Saturday, 3rd October, with a faultless win during the penultimate round of the campaign.
Chalking up his fourth victory of the season for Wednesbury-based Total Control Racing, MacDowall made an outstanding start from third on the grid and after pressuring race leader Robert Gaffney over the first half of the opening lap, he pounced at Hawthorn after forcing his rival into a mistake.
Building a substantial three second lead by lap seven, the Carlisle teenager’s advantage was negated shortly thereafter when the Safety Car was deployed due to Mark Hazell’s Clio running into the gravel at Druids Hairpin.
At the re-start, MacDowall made no mistakes and soundly defeated 2009 Clio Cup Champion Philip Glew by two seconds in the end to take a richly deserved win and a very welcome return to the top step of the championship podium.
Team-mates Sam Tordoff, Mike Robinson and Daniel Lloyd had a mixed outing with Lloyd the worst affected – a superb performance for three quarters of the race coming to nothing when pushed wide into the gravel at Druids on lap 11. Climbing through very well indeed from 12th on the grid into a position to battle over the top six, the outcome was bitterly disappointing for the category rookie.
Tordoff, who had been just ahead of Lloyd when he was pitched off the track, managed to secure a seventh place finish and heading into tomorrow’s final round of the season the Snetterton race winner is just one point shy of the top seven in the driver standings.
For Robinson, qualifying difficulties put him on the back foot for this afternoon’s race but he drove very well indeed to overcome a 19th place starting position – due to the fact his involvement in qualifying lasted a mere two laps. Carving his way through the order well, the Surrey driver finished in a highly creditable 10th position.
Reflecting on TCR’s day in the Clio Cup, team boss Lee Brookes said: “It’s been a tremendous day for Alex, he produced a cracking drive after a blinding start and they just couldn’t catch him. Philip (Glew) didn’t have any pressure on him with the championship already wrapped up and he was pushing to the limit but he didn’t have an answer for Alex – he drove a perfect race.
“The other boys all have the pace, there’s no question of that, but again they each had some bad luck. Daniel was very unlucky to end his race in the gravel after being taken off, he’d driven a very good race to that point and his pace was good. Sam’s pace was strong too and he could have hoped for more realistically but he drove well, as did Mike who came through well from the back of the grid.”