06/06/2017

Rowbottom revelling in company of Renault UK Clio Cup’s “very precise set of drivers”

Daniel Rowbottom says his recent run of form in the Renault UK Clio Cup has come at the perfect moment ahead of the season’s next two rounds at Croft (Sat 10/Sun 11 June) – his favourite circuit on the calendar.
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Fourth positions at Donington Park and again at Thruxton have now been followed up by his and his small DRM’s first two outright podium results – a pair of thirds at Oulton Park.

It’s an example of how the UK Clio Cup’s sporting and technical regulations allow a well-prepared single-car entry to genuinely take on bigger, more established outfits.

“I’d like to think we can win a race at Croft,” commented the Cataclean-backed driver, suddenly up to fifth in the drivers’ standings. “As ever, it’ll be vital to qualify on the first few rows, particularly with the sorting out that can happen at Croft’s first corner, Clervaux. It’s infamous for catching people out…

“We’re still not fully there in qualifying – (Mike) Bushell is the qualifying god! He’s able to extract those final few tenths of a second, but I don’t think it’ll be too long before we’re there.

“I also love Croft. For me it’s one of the best places in the world to drive a racing car. You’ve really got to be on it everywhere and its old school nature means there’s an element of peril to it – just as it should be. It’s also very technical with fast stuff, medium stuff, slow stuff... It’s just a great lap to drive flat out.”

Croft will in effect mark a first full-season in the championship for Rowbottom who raced there in 2016 but then missed the second half of season before returning at the start of 2017.

Likewise his first wedding anniversary – he tied the knot with wife Sadie on the eve of last year’s event at the North Yorkshire track!

“It’s been an interesting 12 months,” he reflected. “On the racing side we’ve come back and deliberately made sure we’ve not got sucked into over-thinking things.

“What we’re seeing now is the result of a lot of hard work from what is still a small group of people.

“From here on it is about going for the wins. I don’t believe the title is on any more – the gap to Mike is too big maybe. On saying that I’ve won titles from further back than this…”

Rowbottom also says he has a much greater respect for the UK Clio Cup’s high levels of competition.

“You certainly have to earn your stripes which I probably didn’t respect enough when I first came into it in 2016,” he added.

“To be getting in among names like Bushell, Colburn, Rivett and Pattison… it is fantastic. You are racing at such a high level. The trust is terrific. There’s a bit of leaning on one another but no one oversteps the mark. It’s a very precise set of drivers.”