Great Season Opener for Jake Honour and Milltek in Clio Cup
Milltek Sport have a very active year supporting motorsport during 2015 and in addition to supporting British Touring Cars, Volkswagen Racing Cup (to name but a few), they are also actively supporting Jake Honour in the Renault Clio Cup. Jake's race car runs an off-the-shelf non-resonated Milltek Sport exhaust system that's available to any owner of the Renault Clio 200.
Testing - Friday 10th April
A complete day of testing kicked off the 2015 season at a very warm & sunny Rockingham ISSC circuit. The first session was all about learning the circuit and getting back into the rhythm of things, as the last time I had been out in the car was at a very wet Thruxton Circuit, in February.
Testing went extremely well, and the car was faultless all day. With the support from Jade Developments we made a few set up changes throughout the day to ensure we were getting the most from the car. By the end of the day, my team mate and I were at the top of the lap times, however we had no official timing for the day.
Saturday 11th April - Qualifying
When Saturday approached, we were set for two qualifying sessions, which were to take place in a mixture of conditions. With rain starting to fall early in the morning, we were sure for a very wet first qualifying session. Heading out on to the wet circuit, there was initially a lot of grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport Road tyres, however after 3 laps or so & no further rain falling, the track started to dry out and became very greasy. I really struggled to get a good feel for the car in the conditions, but still qualified P3 for races 1&2.
The second qualifying session came round later in the morning, by which time the track had fully dried out. This session was to determine the grid positions for race 3. This qualifying session was much easier to get to grips with in the conditions that I was used to, and ended up qualifying P2, just shy of my Jade Developments team mate - a brilliant effort from the team.
Saturday 11th April - Round 1
Round 1 took place on the Saturday afternoon. During the build up to the race I was extremely nervous, with it being the first one of the year, but also very excited!
I got away cleanly off the line and had to avoid an incident with one of the race class cars that had span on turn 1 of the banking. Luckily, I made it through cleanly and managed to defend into the first corner - Deane hairpin. Although the race was fairly simple after the first corner, I spent a lot of time defending to Nic Harrison who was applying the pressure. I managed to keep my cool and not fold to the pressure and bring the car home in a very solid 2nd place.
Sunday 12th April - Round 2
Round two was much the same as round 1. I didn't get away quite as well, which meant I had to deal with a couple of cars getting past me round the first corner, so I slipped back to P4. On the next lap, I made the move for P3 into the Deane Hairpin as Jon Creasey ran wide, making it a fairly straightforward pass. Shortly after on the same lap, I made the move for P2, taking Nic Harrison down the inside into Tarzan. The move was fairly straightforward, however I had thought that I had out braked myself into the turn, however managed to make the move stick. I managed to pull a gap of a few seconds throughout the race, however unfortunately just didn't have the pace to catch my team mate, Luke.
Sunday 12th April - Round 3
The third and final race of the weekend was the most exciting one of the 3, and also the most difficult, as by now, they tyres were really starting to give up in the warm conditions. Understeer was a huge problem throughout the race, but luckily we had made some changes to the car before heading out to try and compensate for this.
I got off the line cleanly and maintained my P2 start position. Heading into the second corner, I felt a small tap from behind which sent me sideways, but luckily I didn't lose any positions due to this. On the same lap, heading into the final chicane before the start/finish straight we were 3 abreast, but luckily I had the inside line, and managed to come out in front. Sticking in P2, I then drove like crazy to try and catch team mate Luke and grab a win from the weekend. Unfortunately, Luke has got away cleanly and pulled a gap of a few seconds, which I just couldn't chase down! I finished the race in another solid P2 finish.
Overall I was extremely pleased with the results over the weekend. Three P2 finishes bought home some solid points for the team and I and we are currently 2nd in the run for the title!
The next rounds of the Clio Cup Series are due to take place at my local circuit, Thruxton, on June the 13th & 14th where I'll be looking to make my way to the top step of the podium. I'd like to say a massive thanks to Jade Developments for providing & setting up a brilliant car, and to all my sponsors for their backing & support!