Winter Cup Champion Daniel LloydTotal Control Racing capped off a hugely successful year in the best way possible this afternoon, Saturday, 7th November, with Daniel Lloyd clinching the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Winter Cup title and team-mate Sam Tordoff securing his second career category race victory.

“I’m obviously delighted for Daniel and Sam, they both performed fantastically this weekend and have proven they can be serious championship contenders next year in the main Clio Cup”, said team principal Lee Brookes, “It’s been a great weekend for TCR, the team did a terrific job.”

Racing at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit in Northamptonshire, the pre-eminent Clio Cup squad locked out the front row for both of the day’s races with Tordoff taking pole position for each encounter two 10ths of a second ahead of fellow first-year Clio driver Lloyd.

While qualifying took place on a mainly wet track, the outcome of the opening race was determined by tyre choice as the circuit began to dry fairly rapidly. Both TCR drivers chose wet-weather rubber and while 20-year-old Tordoff held the lead for the first couple of corners, Lloyd fought his way by into Chapman Curve.

Split by just a couple of 10ths of a second, the team-mates looked very well placed but as early as the third lap it was clear James Colburn’s gamble on slick front tyres was coming into play. While Lloyd still held first place, Colburn nudged Tordoff back to third position on the fourth tour through Turn 1 and then, into Deene Hairpin, he barged Lloyd out of the lead.

Recovering in fourth place, the 17-year-old mounted a solid comeback while Tordoff moved into the lead due to the delay Colburn brought about for himself. Into lap five, the TCR man led by well over a second but both he and Lloyd were struggling with tyre degradation as the track dried quicker than expected. That said Lloyd did manage to move back into third place at Brook Chicane.

On lap six, the inevitable lead change occurred when Colburn dived up the inside of Tordoff into Tarzan Hairpin but the Leeds-based racer then lost another position – this time to Lloyd – at the same part of the track when running into the gravel trap under braking as a result of the lessening grip from his tyres. Recovering in fourth, Tordoff did manage to grab third before the finish.

After the first encounter, Colburn led the standings by six points from podium debutant Lloyd with Tordoff a further three points adrift. Post-race though, Colburn was handed a two-point penalty for his overly robust overtaking manoeuvre on Lloyd at Deene.

Winter Cup goes down to the wire
With everything to play for heading into the afternoon race, Lloyd got the jump on Tordoff at the start to lead while the latter kept Colburn at bay for second. Pressuring his Huddersfield-based team-mate hard, Tordoff managed to move ahead on lap three at Yentwood following a mistake by Lloyd which led to him running slightly wide off the track.

Tordoff immediately tried to press home the advantage and posted the fastest lap of the race on lap three to help build a 1.2 second buffer. Lloyd hit back though and on lap six posted what would prove to be the quickest lap of all to secure the ultimately crucial two bonus points.

Running mere 10ths of a second apart for the remainder of the 12-lap encounter, Tordoff took the win for his Wednesbury-based team while second place for Lloyd – coupled with the points for fastest lap – gave him the Winter Cup crown by a single point. Tordoff ended the campaign tied on points with Colburn in the Vice-Champion’s position.

Reflecting on the weekend, Lee Brookes added: “Qualifying went really well, Sam and Daniel were very evenly matched and we definitely had the pace on everyone else. The guys took the decision to go with wet tyres for the first race but we all supported that choice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right call but they still rescued podium finishes.

“In the second race, they turned it around well and either one of them could have won the race and the Winter Cup. It was great to see Sam back on the top step of the podium and I’m really pleased Daniel had some good luck for a change to win the title – both of them did the team proud.”

Final 2009 ELF Renault Clio Winter Cup Standings:
Champion: Daniel Lloyd, 58pts; =2nd Sam Tordoff & James Colburn, 57pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.