More success for Lidsey at Croft
More success for Lidsey at Croft

 

Northfleet racing driver Brett Lidsey continued his very strong start to the Renault UK Clio Cup season at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 15th/16th June, with his fifth podium from six races during an action-packed third event of 2019.

 

Delivering the perfect response to an unfortunate opening lap spin during an extremely wet round five of the campaign on Saturday afternoon, which he ultimately finished in seventh place, the MRM driver converted third on the grid for round six into second position with an impressive drive.

Playing a big role in a fantastic scrap over the podium places with Max Coates and team-mate Jack Young, a controversial jump-start penalty for the latter meant the action only intensified and Lidsey certainly impressed with very strong pace.

While the luckless events of race one did impact Lidsey’s championship placing, the Kent driver had been second in the standings prior to the weekend, his runner-up position in the second encounter ensured he departed the North East third in the title race, just 14 points adrift of second.

“Five podiums from six races can’t be argued with and I’m really pleased with the pace we’ve had this weekend, in both the wet and the dry”, said the Liftout, GHR Scaffolding Ltd, GPL Projects Ltd, Certus Security, Dornack, Taylor Made Decals, MS Motorsport and MSY Grab Hire & Mini Digger Hire sponsored driver.

“Race one was obviously unfortunate, the back of the car came around on some standing water at the Jim Clark Esses – I thought I’d held it but then I hit one of the Recticel barriers which took the front bumper off. At least we got some decent points for seventh in the end. In race two I was fast from the start, and I was so determined to get with Max [Coates] and Jack [Young] as they battled.”

He added: “We heard over the head-set radio about Jack’s penalty, so there was a bit of to-and-fro when he was backing Max up. I tried my hardest to pressure, but I took a bit too much out of the tyres so later on I was having to lift into corners like Sunny just to get the nose turned in. I’m still really pleased with the result, it’s been another good weekend for us.”

Officially timed testing at Croft on Friday, 14th June, took place in very wet conditions and Lidsey began the weekend well with the third fastest time in session one – within half a second of the top of the timesheets. The track was still wet for session two, although it did begin to dry and Lidsey ended the run fourth quickest for the day less than a tenth of a second outside the top two.

For qualifying on Saturday morning, on a dry track, the MRM racer secured third on the grid with a time of 1m30.417 seconds (84.60mph) in a very hotly contested session. His second best lap, setting the grid for race two, was also good enough for third – a time of 1m30.449 seconds (84.57mph).

Wet weather during the afternoon played havoc with the remainder of the day’s timetable, with the qualifying session for the British Touring Car Championship experiencing no fewer than five red flag stoppages. As a result, round five of the Clio Cup was contested over a shorter distance of eight laps.

In very challenging conditions, with standing water in a variety of places on track, Lidsey hoped to continue his terrific 2019 podium momentum from the second row of the grid but those aspirations were short-lived unfortunately.

At the Jim Clark Esses on the opening lap, two full rotations for the No.12 Clio and contact with one of the barriers dropped Lidsey down the order. Battling back as well as he could, the Kent sportsman looked set to salvage a top six finish but he was edged back to seventh on the final lap.

Sunday afternoon’s race took place in fully dry conditions and Lidsey held his starting slot of third, before closing onto the tail of MRM team-mate Young who, in turn, was glued to the back of race leader Coates.

Midway around lap two there was little to split the leaders and after Young hit the front on the third tour, Lidsey’s target became Coates. However, a 10 second penalty for Young dropped him to eighth on corrected times with Lidsey moving up into second on the timing screens.

As the trio pulled away at the front, Lidsey circulated just over a second shy of the top two as the race neared the halfway point. By lap seven, though, he was back within just a couple of tenths of a second of his rivals.

Driving very well indeed, Lidsey swarmed all over the rear of Coates’ car and out of the chicane at the end of the seventh tour he took a wide line to try and get the traction he needed to mount a potential pass. Still third out of the corner, he stayed in his rival’s wheeltracks and ultimately took the flag on lap 12 in third position on the road, second on corrected times.

Oulton Park in Cheshire is next on the championship schedule, with rounds seven and eight of the season taking place a fortnight from now on 29th/30th June. This coming weekend, though, Lidsey will be making a high-profile return to Paul Ricard in France for the International Clio Cup Open.

Marking, by far, the biggest event of his career, the races on Saturday, 22nd June, and Sunday, 23rd June, will support the FIA Formula One World Championship’s French Grand Prix. Lidsey is one of six drivers from the Renault UK Clio Cup forming part of the immense 50-plus entry.

“I’ll be back home for work for three days after Croft and then we’re off to France, I really can’t wait”, said Lidsey,

“Obviously, we did the International Open race last year at Ricard so we know the track which helps us. I’m hoping Jack [Young] and I can work together for MRM and take away some strong results. It’s going to be absolutely mega being part of a Formula One weekend!”

2019 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings
3rd Brett Lidsey, 116pts

Pictures supplied by Jakob Ebrey Photography

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