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Rowbottom scores stunning win for Cataclean in Clio thriller

Rowbottom Snetterton 18

Cataclean-backed Kidderminster racer Dan Rowbottom scored a first win of the 2018 Renault UK Clio Cup season with a superb drive at Snetterton, Norfolk, yesterday.

Dan’s Cataclean-sponsored, self-run car qualified on row five of the grid, but RoBo made his trademark lightning start and was in an astonishing third place by turn three. That, on a soaking wet circuit and with traction and visibility at a premium, was even more impressive than usual!
 
Dan’s demon lap didn’t end there, however, as he wriggled up into second place at the Williams right-hander which brings the cars to the ultra-fast Bentley Straight. Dan chased after race leader James Dorlin, with the two cars running side-by-side on lap two of the race with Dan briefly nosing ahead, only for Dorlin to get out his elbows and battle his way back ahead. Dan fought his way back ahead with another brave dive, needing to go off line where the track conditions were worse in order to gain track space, but Dorlin repeated the manoeuvre at the Wilson Hairpin on lap four and retook the advantage. However, he hadn’t reckoned with Dan’s determination and the pressure from behind finally told and Dorlin slithered off the track a lap later. That meant that Dan took over the race lead and coped superbly with the conditions for the second half of the race, never outing a wheel wrong.
 
At the chequered flag, Dan had built a gap of almost two seconds over the rest of the field and scored a brilliant win for Cataclean and his own team, operated by just Dan himself and his father!

“Oh, that was tough,” said Dan afterwards. “The car was set up to come on stronger during the race and that worked well but it was difficult being the leader because you have no reference points and no-one ahead to gauge your pace against. We have worked so hard for this win and considering the team is just my dad and I, this means a lot. After the difficulties we had at the start of the season, this is a bit of a ‘So there’ to everyone but it proves that we are competitive and winners, even with limited resources. This is a special win for me and for Cataclean after all the support it has shown me. We’ve done it!”
 
Dan started the second race from seventh on the grid, but the British weather made life difficult once again. As the cars were lined up on the grid ready for the race, the heavens opened and the start was delayed so that the teams could put wet tyres and a wet set-up on the cars. Here, though, the small underdog team was caught out because there was only just time for Dan’s father to change the four tyres but not for a wet set-up on the car. Dan ran on the correct rubber but with a less than ideal feel to the car.

Even so, Dan’s indomitable spirit shone through as he battled with the leading group until he slid wide and the pack pounced. Dan lost places and as the car continued to struggle with a dry set-up on a wet track. That meant that he finished in a frustrated 11th place.
 
“We just didn’t have the time to get a full wet set-up on the car,” explained Dan. “It became a case of trying to salvage as many points as possible, and while we have lost out to my main title rivals, the positives are the win and the speed we have had this weekend. We are looking good for the remainder of the season!”
 
The results keep Cataclean-backed Dan fourth in the Renault UK Clio Cup standings heading for the demanding Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire next on August 11th/12th with Sunday’s race action covered live and exclusive on ITV4.

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