ELF Renault Clio Cup rookie Jonathan Ridley-Holloway produced one of the best race performances of his debut season in the category at Snetterton in Norfolk Sunday, 13th July, during an action-packed 14th round of the championship.The Barnstaple ace, who qualified for the race 14th on the grid, looked in superb form throughout the second of the weekend’s races and served up a series of terrific overtaking moves on the likes of former British Touring Car Championship competitor Gavin Pyper and multiple Clio Cup champion Paul Rivett.Ending the race a highly creditable ninth, just four 10ths of a second shy of Total Control Racing team-mate Mike Robinson at the chequered flag, Jonathan produced front-running pace throughout. His fastest lap of the race, 1m 18.591 seconds was actually just three 10ths of a second outside the best managed by eventual winner Ben Winrow.“It was a brilliant race”, commented the 24-year-old at the conclusion, “I didn’t get a bad start and then just went through and made a few places, it was great. I got a hell of an exit through Sear every time. I picked off (Gavin) Pyper, got by (Paul) Rivett and passed (Lee) Pattison too with some good moves.”After negotiating the first two corners of the race safely, Jonathan moved into 13th as he headed down Revett Straight on lap one and emerged from the Bomb Hole ahead of Pyper in 12th place before also moving ahead of Pattison.Running in 10th place on lap four, the A4 Apparel, PicoPC.co.uk and Bond Oxborough Phillips backed racer pressed on before passing vastly experienced Clio Cup competitor Paul Rivett on lap six for ninth position into the Esses.On lap eight, the Safety Car was deployed and it remained on track until lap 10. At the re-start, Jonathan got away cleanly and shadowed team-mate Robinson to the flag on lap 18.“It really was a mega race”, added the North Devon star, “Unfortunately I couldn’t get Mike (Robinson) but he was really struggling towards the end. After the Safety Car I just didn’t have quite the same rhythm but I’m delighted with the result and also our competitiveness this weekend.” Saturday’s 13th round wasn’t as fruitful for Jonathan after an opening lap drama saw him drop from his grid position of 15th down to 25th place. Fighting hard as the race progressed, the North Devon racer had climbed into the top 18 just prior to a Safety Car period on lap eight which coincided with light rainfall starting.At the re-start on lap 13, and with the rain ceasing again, Jonathan stayed ahead of reigning ELF Renault Clio Winter Cup Champion Niki Lanik and after taking 17th place at the Bomb Hole on lap 14, he moved ahead of TCR team-mate Fulvio Mussi for 16th at the Esses during the next tour, where he would remain to the chequered flag.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t be in the top 10 on Saturday as we definitely had the pace but I’m pleased with how we’ve gone in general at Snetterton and it’s given us a good boost for the next two races in a couple of weeks”, said Jonathan, “I absolutely love Oulton Park so I’m feeling confident we can go there and achieve a couple of good finishes.”Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup will take place a fortnight from now over the weekend 26th/27th July at Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire.