RENAULT UK Clio Cup front-runner Ollie Pidgley endured a highly frustrating visit to Donington Park over the Easter weekend.
Incidents in rounds three and four of what was the second event of the season, resulted in a bitterly disappointing double retirement for the Downton driver.
Pidgley, who is backed by MSP Capital, Old English Properties New & Refurbished Ltd and Branded Design, was an innocent party in a major multi-car collision during race one of the weekend which resulted in significant damage to his Team Pyro-run Clio.
Following great work by the Pyro mechanics his car was ready for the second contest later in the afternoon on Sunday but a tangle at the Old Hairpin on lap six, while racing for position with James Colburn, resulted in his second retirement of the day.
“Race one was a big disappointment, I got put wide out of Redgate and was then hit again when I was off the track and that put me in the wall”, explained Pidgley, “We needed a new steering rack, bumpers, new beam – the team did a great job to get the car ready for race two. It just wasn’t our weekend, things didn’t go as we wanted from the start.
“I apologised to James [Colburn] after race two as the move I tried was a bit late, I was just trying too hard and there was some contact which put us both wide. I don’t think either of us would have gone off, but I was hit from behind and that then sent us into the gravel. It’s not the weekend we wanted, especially after a strong start at Brands, but we’ll look forward now to Thruxton.”
Qualifying on Saturday didn’t work out as intended for Pidgley – the youngster was prevented from gaining an all-important tow during the session – and he ended up with a lower than anticipated 17th on the grid for round three, still only 0.6 seconds outside the top six, and 19th for round four.
With a lot of work to do in both of Easter Sunday’s races, the Pyro driver was eager to make up places early on and at the start of round three he made a good launch from the line as the field headed down to Redgate.
Moving up into the thick of the action, as he rounded the first turn a major multi-car collision occurred and as Pidgley sought to avoid any involvement he was side-swiped off the track onto the grass on the left at Hollywood and further contact pitched his Clio into the wall.
Emerging unscathed, the second year Renault UK Clio Cup driver was understandably frustrated.
In round four, Pidgley gained places on the first lap to move up into 16th position and then became embroiled in an entertaining battle with Paul Streather. As they diced, the duo traded position and Pidgley moved up into the top 15.
Then on lap six at the Old Hairpin, as he looked to challenge James Colburn on the inside, there just wasn’t quite enough room for two Clios and the resulting contact was followed by secondary contact from another competitor. Both Pidgley and Colburn ended their race in the gravel.
After making an outstanding start to his second season in the British Touring Car Championship feeder series two weeks ago at Brands Hatch in Kent, where the 19-year-old from Downton took a career-best top seven finish, the visit to Donington couldn’t have provided more of a contrast.