Sam TordoffTeenagers Sam Tordoff and Daniel Lloyd both produced outstanding performances for Wednesbury-based Total Control Racing at Rockingham on Sunday, 20th September, with Tordoff claiming his third ELF Renault Clio Cup podium of 2009 and Lloyd unluckily missing out on his maiden category win.

Lining up second and third on the grid respectively for the 17th round of the season, Leeds-based Tordoff and Huddersfield racer Lloyd each made good starts to the first Clio race of the weekend at the venue’s International Super Sports Car Circuit to get on terms with pole-sitter Philip Glew.

Into Deene Hairpin for the first time, Tordoff ran slightly wide on the exit and lost some momentum but Lloyd got good drive out of the turn and managed to pass Glew at Yentwood to lead a Clio Cup race for the first time in his short career.

Into lap two Lloyd held a reasonable lead over the rest with TCR team-mate Alex MacDowall in fourth place, Tordoff in 11th after his lap one moment and Mike Robinson in 13th position – the latter starting lower down the order than he would have liked after a tricky qualifying session on Saturday.

Driving impressively, Lloyd looked comfortable at the front ahead of Glew and returning 2001 Clio Cup Champion Danny Buxton but at the end of the eighth lap, his car under-steered wide out of Brook Chicane and made heavy contact with the retaining wall at Turn 4.

Meaning an immediate retirement, Lloyd was bitterly disappointed and post-race investigations by the team pointed to a possible puncture which caused the 17-year-old’s car to become unsettled.

With Lloyd out of the race MacDowall, Tordoff and Robinson each moved up a place, the latter making the best progress of all to actually get ahead of Tordoff before the finish, grabbing a well deserved seventh place result – just a couple of 10ths of a second ahead of his team-mate. For MacDowall, fifth position was a good return to maintain his Vice-Champion’s spot in the standings.

Round 18 produced a welcome podium for Tordoff with a fine drive to third place behind newly crowned 2009 Clio Cup Champion Glew and former title winner Buxton. Running just a 10th of a second or so shy of the pace of the top two, Tordoff’s result moved him to within 23 points of the championship top six – the spot currently held by team-mate Robinson.

For Surrey-based Robinson, race two was made more difficult after he was caught-up in a tangle at Deene on lap one but he came through to finish 10th, a couple of spots behind MacDowall who, even though not enjoying one of his better weekends, is still on course to be 2009 runner-up.

For Lloyd, a career-best top five result was just reward for a great drive and also incredibly hard work by the TCR mechanics to get his car repaired after the round 17 accident. With just four hours in which to get the car anywhere close to race-readiness, the team did a superb job and although the Clio wasn’t anything like 100 per cent Lloyd still managed to secure an impressive finish.

“Sam and Daniel have come to the top again this weekend which is great to see”, said team principal Lee Brookes, “For Daniel to lead the first race ahead of Glew and Buxton, two highly rated drivers, without feeling any pressure was fantastic. It’s just such a shame what happened but we think he’d probably picked up a puncture which unsettled the car.

“The team did a fantastic job to get the car back out there, they worked unbelievably hard and it paid off with a good result. Sam’s podium in race two was obviously fantastic, he’s proven again he’s a genuine front-runner with a bright future. Alex and Mike were both unfortunate this weekend but they’ll bounce back at Brands Hatch where we’re aiming to try and win the team’s championship.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography