Honour and holidays at stake at Oulton Park

The AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK touches down at Cheshire’s fabulously undulating Oulton Park circuit for thrills and spills aplenty in the fourth race meeting of the season on June 4-5 with a holiday up for grabs for the driver leading the points at the end of the weekend, plus flights to Kuala Lumpur for two lucky fans.

The driver who heads the points standings at the end of Oulton Park’s two races, rounds seven and eight of the season, will win a holiday to Kuala Lumpur for two, whilst two lucky fans can win flights to the same destination if they send an email to airasiaclio@sro.co.uk stating which car has an AirAsia flight destination on its windscreen banner rather than the usual AirAsia branding.

Although his run of podium finishes ended following a puncture in the first race in Hampshire, Lumison BlueSquare Data / SVE driver Paul Rivett (Banstead) bounced back with a fifth top three finish in six starts in race two and continues to head the championship standings and on the face of it appears the man most likely to need to pack his holiday suitcase.

The two-time title winner holds a 21 point advantage going into the race weekend with Total Control Racing’s James Dixon (Maidstone) having maintained his championship position despite failing to finish on the podium at Thruxton; something he will look to avoid in Cheshire to further close the gap to Rivett ahead.

“I’ve been quick at Oulton Park before, so I’ll be going all out,” he said. “I need to get a good result and be on the podium at least, so that’s the target.”

Dixon will hope to count on the support of his TCR team-mates Tom Grice (Hockley), Mark Proctor (Driffield) and Nicolas Hamilton (Tewin). Grice heads to Oulton Park on the back of his maiden podium finish last time out at Thruxton, where he also set the fastest lap in race one, while Hamilton will be looking to extend his run of points finishes. The younger brother of F1 champion Lewis is one of only seven drivers to have scored in each of the six races so far.

Former BTCC racer Proctor meanwhile will be returning to the circuit where he was caught up in an accident during a Ginetta race in 2009 that caused him to briefly call time on his racing career before making his return to action this season.

Third in the championship behind Rivett and Dixon going into the fourth meeting of the season is the only other driver to have tasted victory this year; Team Pyro driver Aron Smith (Rathfarnham). Having made his return to the series this season, Smith took a double win at Thruxton to close to within six points of Dixon in the championship.

The Thruxton successes marked Smith’s return to the top of the Clio Cup UK podium for the first time in two years and he heads to Oulton Park hoping that another win isn’t far away.

“I’m really looking forward to Oulton Park and hope I can carry over my performance from Thruxton,” Smith said. “It’s not as fast as Thruxton, but it’s another real drivers track because the barriers are so close which makes it feel as if it is as fast as Thruxton. I’ve got good momentum now so I hope I can carry it on to Oulton – I’ll be going flat out all the way!”

Smith will once again be part of a six-car Team Pyro line-up, with Adam Bonham (Kibworth), Chris Swanwick (Nottingham), Jack Goff (High Wycombe), Josh Files (Norwich) and Craig Currie (Foston) racing alongside the Irish driver.

Although he can’t count on the support of a team-mate, the lone Get On Track Developments driver Jake Packun (Bolton) goes into his home round sitting fourth in the championship standings. So far this season, Packun has finished on the podium at both Brands Hatch and Donington Park and he should be able to count on plenty of home support as he seeks to make a return to the top three.

“Oulton Park’s my local circuit and I do my Get On Track Developments work there,” he says, “so I’m hoping for plenty of support and also some good success. It’s a great track.”

Elsewhere, Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) – who followed up a first podium of the year at Thruxton with a pace-setting performance during the recent official test at Snetterton – goes to Oulton Park seeking to move up from fifth in the standings while Lee Pattison (Liveridge) will be eager to bounce back from a tough weekend at Thruxton to improve on his current position of ninth.

Pattison is one of two drivers in the field to have finished on the podium at Oulton Park twelve months ago, having finished third in the second race of the weekend.

“I should be quick at Oulton and it’s a circuit I really enjoy,” the JHR driver said. “Lets see what happens.”

One team certainly seeking an upturn in fortunes at Oulton Park will be series newcomer Scuderia Vittoria after a disastrous weekend last time out at Thruxton. Former BTCC racer Matt Allison (Norwich) was involved in accidents that forced him to retire from both races in Hampshire while team-mate Luke Wright (Shaftesbury) was also caught up in an incident in race one that ruled him out of the remainder of the weekend. Both sit outside the top ten in the standings as a result and will be looking to make moves up the championship order.

20Ten Racing driver Darren Wilson (Newark) completes the field looking to build on his best weekend of the season so far at Thruxton, where a pair of top twelve finishes more than doubled his championship points tally.

Round seven of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK is due to start at 16:30 on Saturday 4 June with round eight scheduled to get underway at 15:10 on Sunday 5 June.

-ends-

About AirAsia Clio Cup

Each season drivers come from around the United Kingdom and internationally to compete in the thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing that the Renault Clio Cup demands. The Championship continues to be the UK’s premier one-make saloon-car championship. Using race cars based on the road-going Clio Renault Sport 200, the Championship continues to be a breeding ground for future Touring Car drivers. As a prominent support race on the British Touring Car Championship platform and benefiting from live, comprehensive and new for 2011, HD TV coverage on the ITV sport network, it remains the most direct link to the BTCC. Almost one third of the current BTCC grid graduated from the ranks of Renault Clio Cup UK http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx
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