Dixon storms to victory in round 11 at Snetterton

James Dixon (Total Control Racing) - Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Total Control Racing’s James Dixon stormed his third victory of the season and re-claimed the championship lead in round 11 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup at Snetterton today.

Dixon took the lead in the early stages of the race after Westbourne Motorsport’s pole-sitter James Colburn lost out in a four-way battle after the first corner at Riches, causing him to lose the rear-end of his car and lift off to correct the car.

Colburn’s mistake ended the hopes of Scuderia Vittoria’s local boy and former BTCC racer Matt Allison who collected championship contender Colburn in the first lap mix up. Team Pyro’s Aron Smith, who approached the Snetterton race weekend just three points adrift of Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engeering Paul Rivett failed to finish after the first lap chaos.

Dixon pushed hard to create a gap between himself and Scuderia Vittoria’s Luke Wright making some good progress, the thrills –and –spills of round 11 continued as the battle from second through to sixth remained competitive for the duration of the race.

Wright who made a good start from seventh to end the first lap in second position, led the charge to Dixon closely followed Get On Track Development’s Jake Packun and Team Pyro’s Adam Bonham and Josh Files as Dixon’s championship rival struggled in seventh position.

As the race progressed, the bumper-to-bumper racing continued with third through to sixth position changing numerous times. As a result of this Wright managing to pull enough of a lead from the chasing pack to close in on Dixon as the pair headed into the closing stages of the race. However, Wright’s effort was to no avail as Dixon remained determined to show he is in serious contention for the championship.

“I didn’t get a brilliant start, it wasn’t stunning,” said Dixon. “Snetterton is a pretty tight circuit so it was always going to kick off here; and it did.

“Alison went down the inside of Colburn and it didn’t work out and the result was four cars wiped out. For me it worked out well as I had such a big gap then from those behind, it was ridiculous – I could hardly see the cars behind!

“My job then was to stay consistent and come home to take the win. I saw Luke catching towards the end of the race, but there was still enough of a gap to be comfortable. Now I just need to put my second race head on and see if I can do the same again and maintain my lead in the championship.”

Wright was pleased with his second spot. “I got an absolutely mega start,” he said. “The first lap was carnage going into the second corner, with bits of car going everywhere, but I managed to come out of it fine and quickly pulled out a small gap, and managed to keep Files behind me for the rest of the race.”

Files rounded out the top three to claim his first podium position of the season. “I’m over the moon with third,” he said.

“Qualifying did not go to plan and I was really gutted for a few hours, and I was going through the data thinking ‘where the hell can I make the time up?’ and ‘what have I done wrong?’ I said to my crew I want to be fourth by the first corner, which I didn’t quite manage, but by the second corner I was happy and I’m over the moon with a podium from tenth, it’s simply brilliant.”

Earlier on in the day Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn and Team Pyro’s Aron Smith claimed pole position for rounds 11 and 12 respectively after an entertaining qualifying session that saw the session red flagged with 15 minutes to go.

Total Control Racing’s Mark Proctor suffered from a technical issue which resulted in an oil leak throwing the session wide open, with Colburn claiming his position on the front row along side Smith minutes before the end of the session, pushing Norwich’s Matt Allison and Oulton Park winner back to third and fourth on the grid respectively.

Fans watching Sunday’s round 12 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK can win flights to Kuala Lumpur thanks to series title sponsor AirAsia, as one competing Clio will be carrying the name of an AirAsia destination on its visor strip. Email this destination toairasiaclio@sro.co.uk to be entered into the draw to win two return flights from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK action concludes with race 2 on Sunday at 11:15.

Round 11 results

1. James Dixon Total Control Racing 21m 52.155s

2. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 21m 52.670s

3. Josh Files Team Pyro 21m 52.994s
4. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 21m 53.634s
5. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 21m 54.765s
6. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 21m 55.552s
7. Neb Bursac Team Pyro 21m 56.978s
8. Craig Currie Team Pyro 22m 00.848s
9. Jack Goff Team Pyro 22m 03.616s
10. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 22m 04.019s

Round twelve top ten qualifying times
1. Aron Smith Team Pyro 2:09.243 (G)
2. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.272
3. Jack Goff Team Pyro 2:09.299 (G)
4. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 2:08.317 (G)
5. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 2:09.418
6. James Dixon Total Control Racing 2:09.557 (G)
7. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.610 (G)
8. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 2:09.732 (G)
9. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 2:09.791 (G)
10. Josh Files Team Pyro 2:10.108 (G)

Round eleven top ten qualifying times
1. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 2:08.937 (G)
2. Aron Smith Team Pyro 2:09.220 (G)
3. Jack Goff Team Pyro 2:09.228 (G)
4. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.230
5. James Dixon Total Control Racing 2:09.368 (G)
6. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 2:09.395
7. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.425 (G)
8. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 2:09.686 (G)
9. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 2:09.698 (G)
10. Josh Files Team Pyro 2:10.066 (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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