Frustrating weekend at Croft

Misfortune for Dorlin

James Dorlin heads into the Renault UK Clio Cup summer break with ground to make up in the title fight after a frustrating double-header at Croft last weekend [23-24 June].

The BRDC Rising Star arrived at his home event in Yorkshire on a run of six straight podium finishes - including five victories - and holding an 8 point championship lead.

He was denied a third pole position of 2018 after traffic late into qualifying hampered the Vantage Motor Group and GardX Protection-backed racer’s final flying efforts, though he was able to post the third fastest time, a mere 0.156 seconds adrift of pole.

An optimistic move by Daniel Rowbottom into the Hairpin on the opening lap brought a premature end to Dorlin’s challenge for silverware in the opening contest, relegating him to the lower reaches of the top ten.

Dorlin mounted a comeback, however, and took the chequered flag in sixth to minimize the points lost to his closest championship rivals ahead.

In front of a capacity trackside crowd and the nation through ITV Sport’s free-to-air television coverage, Dorlin lined up P9 for the final race looking forward with optimism to fighting his way forward.

It all seemed to be going to plan as the Barnsley-based racer dispatched a few of his rivals ahead after a great launch. Contact from another competitor at Clervaux, however, left the #32 machine with a puncture and damaged rear-end, forcing Dorlin into an early retirement.

In terms of the championship, Dorlin now sits just behind series stalwart Paul Rivett and Max Coates in an apparent three-way duel for the crown, with a comfortable margin to the chasing pack behind.

That battle for honours will resume after a six-week break at Snetterton, in Norfolk, over the weekend of 28-29 July.

James Dorlin said, “I’m not concerned about how this weekend has panned out at all. We were unfortunate, and that happens to the best of us at times, but winning this championship was never going to be simple.

“Retiring from the second race after contact makes the dropped score situation simple for us, and even helps in some respects as one of my title rivals hasn’t had a non-score yet.

“We now have six weeks to take stock, relax a little bit and then come back ready to go again at Snetterton. Thanks again to Westbourne Motorsport for setting the car up perfectly and to my sponsors for making this all happen - we’ll get them next time!”