Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup newcomers Dan Holland (Dagenham) and Simon Horrobin (Snodland) will be back for a second taste of the ultra-competitive ‘tin top’ championship during the season finale on 11th/12th October at their local track, Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.
Holland, driving for JamSport, made a huge impression on his Clio Cup debut at Rockingham earlier in the month with a pair of seventh place finishes and had qualifying gone to plan the 26-year-old certainly had the pace to trouble the top four.
“I won’t say I’m going to win at Brands but if I can get two top fives I’ll be happy, although I’ve never been round Brands GP before”, he commented, “The others have had more time in the car and have obviously got more experience than I have – that’s the only difference though. With more time, we can be right up there. If I’m higher than seventh, aiming for the top five, I think that’s realistic.
“In practice at Rockingham I didn’t realise what everyone did with the new tyres and I didn’t realise the grip you had for your first two flying laps. When the tyres went off, I was doing the same times all of the others did so I just need to get it right in qualifying when the tyres are at their best.”
An unfortunate excursion early on during qualifying for rounds 15 and 16, a result of difficulties getting adjusted to the brakes of the fourth generation Renault Clio Cup car, led to the Ford Fiesta front-runner becoming beached in the gravel. Bouncing back impressively in the races, Holland starred – although that wasn’t a surprise to those who know his pace and ability in club-level Fiestas.
“I don’t think I made the most of the first weekend although seventh in both races wasn’t bad after qualifying – I mucked that up”, reflected Holland, “The brakes in Clios are different to what I’ve known before, so I struggled with that and that’s why I ended up in the gravel in qualifying.
“I took it a bit hesitant in the first race, at the start I wondered if I could be fast enough but then the team said I just needed to concentrate on what I knew I could do. I was racing for fourth with [Paul] Rivett, [Alex] Morgan and [James] Colburn but I out-braked myself and was then put on the grass. I think I could have had two top five finishes from the weekend really but it was a good start.”
Fellow Clio Cup debutant Simon Horrobin, driving for 2014 champion team SV Racing, thoroughly enjoyed his maiden experience of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support series at Rockingham. Finishing 13th in the opening encounter and taking an improved top 12 result in race two, the 48-year-old businessman can’t wait to be back in the Clio just over a fortnight from now.
“The whole weekend went well, everyone made us feel welcome in the championship and the other members of the team were great”, said the Kent racer, “The racing was really good, we learnt a lot and I’ll definitely be more relaxed for Brands Hatch – I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’ve been on the Indy Circuit a good few times before, but never the GP track, so it’s going to be a great opportunity to race there for the first time. After that, we need to get everything together with SV to work on a deal for the full Clio Cup season next year.”
He added: “Renault has done a fantastic job with the new car, it’s the closest you can get to a full blown racing car from a production saloon. The brakes are the thing I had to get adjusted to the most at Rockingham but overall it was a great first experience, the car is delightful to drive.”
Like Holland, Horrobin has also graduated into the Renault UK Clio Cup from Fiesta racing and he will actually be in action in his Ford this coming weekend, 27th/28th September, at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium where he will be competing with the Classic Touring Cars. After that, preparations will begin for his second outing in Clios with championship-winning SV Racing.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.