MOTORSPORT: Aaron’s Clio Cup coup an unexpected bonus

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AARON Williamson took the Renault Clio Cup Winter Series by storm after having a last minute change of heart.

The Holbeach Drove ace, who finished second in the Ginetta G50 this season, had planned to take a winter break after a long campaign.

But an offer to drive for the 20Ten team at Rockingham Motor Speedway last weekend proved impossible to turn down – and he responded with a sensational double victory to take the title.

Williamson hadn’t driven the car until Friday’s practice session, but managed to quickly adapt to a front wheel drive/left hand drive car and posted the second fastest time of the day.

Saturday’s qualifying session also went well, as the South Holland ace again clocked the second fastest time, which was just 0.453 seconds shy of the more experienced Adam Bonham, who competed in the main Clio Cup championship this season.

A slow start for Bonham allowed Williamson to take an early lead – and although he slipped behind at one stage, the teenager went back ahead before a safety car interruption.

That didn’t bother Williamson though, as he built up a comfortable lead to win his maiden Clio Cup race by 10.6 seconds.

After starting the final race in second spot, he dropped back to third early on, before finally finding his way back into the lead with a pass on Bonham on the run to the final chicane on lap four.

The final few laps saw Swedish driver Kim Andersson right on Williamson’s tail, but he was unable to get past.

That left Williamson to take his second win of the weekend and earned him the Winter Series title.

Williamson said: “I wasn’t expecting to be competing in this Championship at all, so to win both races and take the Championship title is amazing.

“I really enjoyed driving the Clio and now hope to compete in the 2012 Clio Cup if I can raise some sponsorship.

“The Clio is a totally different car to the Ginettas that I’ve been racing for the last four years. Driving on the left was a massive challenge but that, coupled with changing from rear wheel to front wheel drive, made handling very testing.

“I would like to thank Peterborough Waste management for sponsorship and 20Ten racing and Finesse Motorsport for giving me this opportunity and supporting me over the weekend.”

The Renault Clio cup is a support race to the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) and has provided a good grounding for BTCC drivers.

Tom Onlsow-Cole, Mat Jackson, Andrew Jordan and Jonny Adam all all raced in Clio’s before graduating to BTCC.