Stefan Hodgetts scores sensational double Clio Cup win at Oulton Park

FOR SCUDERIA VITTORIA

Stefan Hodgetts scored a sensational double win at Oulton Park for the One Call Insurance-backed Scuderia Vittoria on his return to the AirAsia Renault Clio UK Cup at Oulton Park.

Hodgetts, who had not competed in a Clio since a one-off outing in 2010, claimed pole position for both races and scored a pair of consummate victories.

Qualifying took place in damp conditions. On slick tyres, Hodgetts blitzed the field by 0.409 seconds to take pole for race one – and destroyed the opposition by 0.908s for race two!

Pressure was constant through the two races, but Hodgetts was never seriously troubled on his way to a double.

“Whenever you have those guys behind you it’s going to be tough,” he said. “To be honest the work was done in qualifying. Sticking it on the front row made life a lot easier around here, because it’s a very difficult track to overtake on in Clios.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend for One Call and Scuderia Vittoria. To come straight in and get those points has lifted their spirits and it’s mega. Hopefully we can keep getting great results.”

Of the team’s trio of Scottish drivers, Vic Covey Jr posted the best results – topped by a ninth position – to retain his top-10 place in the championship.

While they were strong results for Covey, he was hoping to do even better after posting an excellent fifth-fastest time in testing, but missed some track time in qualifying due to an electronics problem.

Ronnie Klos scored a strong second place in the Masters category in race two. He also put in a very strong performance in race one, setting a fastest lap just 1.2 seconds slower than Hodgetts before being delayed in an incident on the final lap.

Finlay Crocker has a history of misfortune at Oulton Park during his racing career. That continued when he was eliminated in a chain-reaction accident in the Saturday race, then he also retired on Sunday after clipping a tyre stack and breaking the steering arm.

Team director Danny Buxton said: “It was an amazing weekend for the team. Stefan’s results have created a big buzz that has lifted the entire team, and everyone involved in the operation is pushing to be right at the top of their game.

“He had everything under control, and he didn’t have to defend any corner over 24 laps of racing. Whenever the gap got below half a second he would push on a bit. He was so much faster in the quick corners that he was able to brake earlier and take care in the tight stuff.

“Vic showed really good pace in the Friday test, and that started a weekend where there were really good individual performances throughout the team.

“Ronnie’s performance in the first race was superb, and I was amazed by his lap time. If you’d told me at the beginning of the year that someone who hasn’t raced for eight years would be 1.2 seconds slower than Stefan, I’d be amazed.

“Unfortunately Finlay had a weekend to forget. Whenever he’s raced at Oulton in the past he’s been cursed there, but he’ll move on and the progress he’s been making means he should get some strong results over the rest of the year. We did some good work with Finlay before this round and he hasn’t yet been able to show the fruits of that.

 “At the end of the day, we’re delighted about Stefan. He’s a fantastic addition to our team, he’s integrated well and is helping the other drivers, and the One Call directors are over the moon with his results.

“We’ve always had belief in our engineering, and we knew that our car was one of the best out there. Stefan has just proved it.”

As part of the ultra-popular British Touring Car Championship package, the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup enjoyed live coverage of its second race at Oulton Park on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, and was streamed live at itv.com/touringcars. There is now a long wait before the next round, at Snetterton in Norfolk on August 11/12.

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