Allison takes first Clio win in restarted Croft thriller

Scuderia Vittoria’s Matt Allison converted his first pole position of the season into his first win as all manner of action ensued behind in round 9 of AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Croft today.

Allison led the field away twice on Saturday afternoon after the race was red-flagged after its first lap to repair tyre barrier damage, with Luke Wright (Scuderia Vittoria) and Team Pyro team-mates Jack Goff and Adam Bonham all having off-road car-damaging excursions in the difficult slippery conditions.

At the restart, Allison once more made good his advantage to charge to the chequered flag.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic that I have managed to get my first win of the season here today,” said Allison. “I made a good start after the red flag which gave me the momentum to make a gap.

“I’m delighted to get this win not only for myself and sponsors, but the team who have just entered their first season in the series. I aim to carry this confidence on in to tomorrow’s race where I am confident that I can achieve win number two of the weekend.”

James Colburn was untroubled for second place as he slowly reeled in Allison. “After such an entertaining race I’m delighted to claim second,” he said.

“In the early laps of the restart I had to push hard and was able to concentrate on catching Matt. If there had been a few more laps in the race then I think that I would have been able to challenge for my first victory, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

In third for the early part of the race was Total Control Racing’s Mark Proctor, but his position was under threat, first from Get On Track Developments’ Jake Packun, and then from Team Pyro’s Josh Files.

Files made a robust pass, for which he received a £100 fine, lost three championship points and is docked three grid slots for tomorrow’s race for contact with Proctor.

Proctor meanwhile went on to finish and eventual seventh, rueing missing out on a podium spot. “The car felt brilliant out on the track this afternoon,” he said.

“I knew that I would be on the pace at the front as the car has been running well all weekend so far. Unfortunately my podium hopes disappeared after making contact with Josh Files at the hairpin but I’m happy to take another Masters win today.”

Despite the best efforts of Proctor, Packun and Files, it was Pyro’s Aron Smith who took third after working his way through the field from his original 13th position on the grid.

“I got a good start which I felt was key at the restart,” said Smith. “Early on I pushed very hard as I had a lot of competition from Packun and Proctor. After everyone had settled down I managed to show some good pace. I’m very pleased to be on the podium this afternoon and I will be a man on a mission in the race tomorrow.”

Qualifying earlier on Saturday had seen Allison take a double pole in mixed weather conditions leading to a unexpected grid line-up with joint points leader heading into this event, Paul Rivett qualifying at the back for both today’s and tomorrow’s races.

The AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK at Oulton Park concludes with round ten at 15:20 tomorrow where the AirAsia mid-season luxury break for four to Kuala Lumpur can be won by the driver who ends the round with the most points.

Heading into tomorrow’s race, James Dixon leads Paul Rivett by four points, 217 versus 213, with Rivett having lost two points today from passing a car under a yellow flag.

Tomorrow’s race can be seen live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD. James Dixon’s car is running with an AirAsia destination on its windscreen. Email this destination to airasiaclio@sro.co.uk for the chance to win two return flights from Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.

Round nine top ten race results
1. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 9 laps
2. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport +0.680s G
3. Aron Smith Team Pyro +9.732s
4. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments +10.716s G
5. James Dixon Total Control Racing +11.170s
6. Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering +11.688s
7. Mark Proctor Total Control Racing +15.508s M
8. Darren Wilson 20Ten Racing Limited +22.751s
9. Tom Grice Team Pyro +23.238s G
10. Josh Files Team Pyro +39.414s

Round nine top ten qualifying results
1. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1:39.856s
2. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.448s G
3. Chris Swanwick Team Pyro 1:40.507s G
4. Tom Grice Team Pyro 1:40.659s G
5. Mark Proctor Total Control Racing 1:41.036s M
6. Craig Currie Team Pyro 1:41.267s
7. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:41.365s G
8. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:41.461s G
9. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:41.464s G
10. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:41.502s G

Round ten top ten qualifying times
1. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.548s
2. Chris Swanwick Team Pyro 1:40.987s G
3. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:41.174s G
4. Tom Grice Team Pyro 1:41.356s G
5. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:41.385s G
6. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:41.506s G
7. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:41.647s G
8. Craig Currie Team Pyro 1:41.692s
9. Josh Files Team Pyro 1:41.806s G
10. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:41.868s G

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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