Dixon edges ahead in holiday race.

Croft is the scene for round ten of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK today and the driver who emerges from this afternoon’s race with a points lead in the championship will win a luxury break for four to Kuala Lumpur thanks to title sponsor, AirAsia.

Three drivers have a mathematical chance of taking the lead, with Team Pyro’s Aron Smith on 180 points the rank outsider to long time championship leader, Paul Rivett (Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering) on 213 points and the man who edged into a points lead after yesterday’s race, James Dixon (Total Control Racing) on 217 points.

The prize should have been won at Oulton Park two weeks ago, but points leader heading into that weekend Rivett lost ground to Dixon so they both ended the weekend tied on points.

Qualifying for Croft in mixed weather conditions on Saturday spelt disaster for the lead two drivers, with two-time champ Rivett the slowest – meaning starting yesterday’s and today’s race from the back of the grid – whilst Dixon could only manage the 12th for yesterday and 11th on the grid today.

Saturday’s race was all action, with a red flag stoppage to repair the tyre barriers, then frenetic action in the restarted race too.

Through the action Dixon came home to finish in fifth spot and take a points lead from Rivett.

“I got a poor start after the red flag period which meant that I lost a bit of time in the first half of the lap,” said Dixon. “Unfortunately for us, we were stuck in the pack that was being held up by Josh Files which made the race quite manic for us.

“The car felt the best it has been all weekend however during the latter stages of the race I didn’t want to get wrapped up in a battle with Packun, as Rivett was just behind me, so I was happy to settle for fifth position, it means that I now lead the championship by two points.”

Rivett would later get lose two points from his tally for overtaking under a yellow flag in the race, but still stands just four shy of Dixon, with 34 up for grabs in today’s race.

“I really enjoyed Saturday’s race as I had to come from the back of the grid,” said Rivett. “I think that it was brilliant to see myself and James challenging each other for position as we are both right up there in contention for the championship and the AirAsia holiday break.

“In such an up and down race I was happy to come home in sixth place and even with losing two points I’m still in the fight. My car is feeling great this weekend so tomorrow I expect to make the same charge from the back of the grid and I’m targeting even higher from today’s race.”

As well as the holiday for the leading driver, AirAsia has two return flights from Stansted to Kuala Lumpur to be won by the fan who spots the AirAsia destination on a Clio in the race. The destination should be emailed to airasiaclio@sro.co.uk for the chance to win the prize.

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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