Total Control Racing’s Jonathan Ridley-Holloway had mixed fortunes at Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire over the weekend, 26th/27th July, the ELF Renault Clio Cup racer just missing out on his fifth top 10 result of the 2008 championship.The 24-year-old Barnstaple driver, who is backed by A4 Apparel, PicoPC.co.uk and Bond Oxborough Phillips, started both Oulton Park races from 11th place on the grid having produced a consistent performance in qualifying with laps of 1m 35.906 seconds (83.55mph) and 1m 36.103 seconds.Round eight was the better of the two encounters for Jonathan, an action-packed race seeing him fightback from a less than fruitful opening lap to just miss out on a top 10 finish by 1.5 seconds at the chequered flag.Slipping down to 14th position on the run through Cascades, the North Devon ace then lost a couple more positions at the hairpin. However, chaos would ensue at the start of lap two when a spin for Robert Gaffney at Old Hall caught out several cars behind with a number being involved in the collision.Skilfully, Jonathan managed to thread his way through the carnage to emerge out of Cascades in 12th position before the Safety Car was deployed in time for the start of lap three. It later became apparent though, Jonathan had picked up some steering damage following contact from another car which compromised his competitiveness.At the re-start on lap five, Jonathan was challenged by Lea Wood on the inside at Cascades but the TCR man moved back ahead before the end of the lap. Slipping back behind Wood again shortly after, Jonathan’s next target became Chris Rice who had also fallen behind Wood.Passing Rice for 12th place on lap 12, Jonathan immediately started to pull away and attempted to get on terms with Paul Rivett. On the penultimate lap, an accident for TCR team-mate Alex MacDowall at Druids meant Jonathan and Rivett moved up a place each so he would eventually take the chequered flag on lap 14 in 11th position.“It’s not a bad result to end the weekend with but we did have the pace to be higher up”, said Jonathan at the end of round 16, “Unfortunately I got a whack from David Shepherd’s car on my front left wheel early on and that seemed to have damaged the steering. I thought I had a puncture at first, it may have been a combination of the two.”Saturday’s 15th round of the season ended on lap seven for Jonathan at the hairpin when, running in 11th position, there was contact with Niki Lanik and Steven Hunter as the trio negotiated the turn. Eliminating the Devon racer from proceedings with broken steering, he held his hands up to the error of judgement.“There were yellow flags at the hairpin which I hadn’t seen as I went down the inside of (Niki) Lanik”, explained Jonathan, “I tried to back off but there was contact, the steering broke and then I had contact with (Steven) Hunter too. It was really unfortunate but one of those things.
“It’s disappointing to come away with an 11th place as all we have to show from the weekend but our lap times were good so we have to take positives from that. From a team perspective, I’m really pleased for the TCR boys with Stefan (Hodgetts) winning the second race and Mike (Robinson) getting on to the podium too – a great result for TCR.”Jonathan’s next competitive outing in his ELF Renault Clio Cup racer will be a full five weeks from now, 30th/31st August, at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire for the penultimate event of his maiden season of sprint racing, rounds 17 and 18.