Finlay CrockerLeading AirAsia Renault Clio Cup team Scuderia Vittoria completed a weekend full of highs and lows at Northamptonshire’s 1.94 mile, Rockingham Motor Speedway yesterday (Sunday, 23rd September), as Britain’s premier one-make saloon car championship played support to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the renowned venue.
After an eventful start to the weekend in qualifying, the action continued in a dry round 11 as the pack of aspiring racers headed down to Deene for the first time.

The Scuderia Vittoria quartet of Stefan Hodgetts, Vic Covey, Finlay Crocker and Ronnie Klos got away well off the start line, gaining numerous positions in the opening stages of the lap.

Disaster soon struck at Chapman Curve when an over-eager Crocker made contact with teammate Covey, immediately demoting the 2008 Scottish Mini Challenge Champion down the order.

Despite Covey’s impressive performances throughout his maiden season in the Clio Cup, the pacey Scot would only manage to work his way back to complete the race in 15th position at the chequered flag.

One Call Insurance and KX Akademy backed Stefan Hodgetts, made up for his fifth row qualifying performance instantly, surging from 11th to 6th by the end of the second lap.

Maintaining 6th position throughout a significant amount of the race, the championship front-runner, who has been a real force to be reckoned with since his return to the championship at Oulton Park, tirelessly fought to close in on Team Pyro’s Adam Bonham for fifth, until his hopes of completing the race were dashed on the final lap at Brook after contact with Westbourne Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales.

Ronnie Klos’ continued to impress on his first outing at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the One Call Insurance backed Scot made a tremendous start off the line and worked his way up to as high as 12th, before out-breaking himself at Deene in the latter stages of the race.

After showing well in the first half of the race, Crocker ran well to complete round 11 in a creditable 12th position, whilst also earning a 2nd place finish in the Masters Class, to keep him in touch with Handy Motorsport’s Simon Belcher at the top of the standings.

Due to a change in weather, the second race of the weekend saw round 12 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup start from behind the safety car for a two lap period due to the wet conditions on track.

Hodgetts and Covey immediately impressed as the race got underway, quickly establishing themselves in the top ten during the opening stages of the race, until a spin from Covey on lap 7, left Hodgetts to tussle with Team Pyro’s Josh Files on his own.

Hodgetts progressed, running as high as sixth, but with the car suffering with some battle scars from round 11, the multiple Clio Cup winner could only complete the race in eighth, with Covey crossing the line in 18th.

Ronnie Klos’s run of poor luck continued despite his impressive showing throughout the weekend. An issue with the windscreen led to poor visibility in the second race ending his race early on lap 9.

The best efforts of Crocker were not quite enough to strengthen his Masters Cup ambitions. Crocker crossed the line in 13th position meaning that he will head to Silverstone in two weeks’ time with Belcher holding a 35 point lead in the standings with only four races remaining.

Stefan Hodgetts said:

“We suffered quite a bit of damage from the first race including the Track Rod, which meant that we really struggled in the second race as a whole. An issue with the door also made it very hard for me to see during the second race as the car kept steaming up.”

“The good news is that we will have a new shell for Silverstone which is just what we need on that type of layout. I expect to be right up there fighting for victories.”

Vic Covey said:

“We didn’t have the best of luck in race one this weekend. I made a good start but unfortunately Finlay tapped me at turn four, which happens in racing, it meant that I could only recover to finish 15th.”

“Race two was much better for me, during the opening stages of the race we were very competitive and I kept up with Stefan as we tried to work our way through the field. An error at the hairpin saw me out brake myself, dropping me to 18th in the process which was unfortunate. I’m just looking forward to getting back out on track at Silverstone now, hopefully we can have a strong end to the season.”

Finlay Crocker said:

“I made a good start in race one and ran well on the first half of the lap, but then I made a little bit of an ambitious move on Vic at turn 4 which lost us some time. I was still able to work my way up to 12th which I think was really good considering the error.”

“I couldn’t see a thing in race two, the windscreen just totally misted up during the race. I feel that I still carried a relatively good pace, but with my visibility issues it was just a case of getting to the end of the race. Onwards and upwards, I’m raring to go for Silverstone.”

Ronnie Klos said:

“Race one was brilliant for us, the car felt awesome, it’s just a shame that we got given the grid penalty after qualifying on Saturday. I was running well in 12th but I out-broke myself two laps from the end which ruined my race.”

“My windows started to steam in the collecting area before the second race so I knew that we were going to have an issue. The race got underway and it didn’t get any better, I couldn’t see to take the right lines. Despite pushing hard, it would have been too dangerous to stay out there.”

“Overall, I’m happy with the progress that I have made this weekend, to have been so competitive is brilliant and I can’t wait to get back in the car at Silverstone.”

Scuderia Vittoria will resume action at Silverstone circuit in two weeks for the penultimate round of the 2012 AirAsia Renault Clio Cup.

For more updates on the progress of Scuderia Vittoria please view their Facebook page, or alternatively follow @ScudVittoria on Twitter.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.