Sat, 11 October 2014
Welsh racer Alex Morgan continued his impressive form by taking a double podium finish in the Renault UK Clio Cup Championship season finale race weekend at Brands Hatch GP. After taking podiums at the last European Clio races in Nurburgring and Paul Ricard, Morgan wanted to end the UK season on a high after mid-season difficulties. The results were Morgan’s 6th and 7th podium finishes of the year, and the races were two of the most hotly contested of the season. After experiencing difficulty with track position in qualifying, Morgan was forced to settled for 5th and 7th place grid slots for the two races despite only being 0.3s off the fastest time. Nevertheless Morgan was happy with his and the car’s pace whatever the weather brought and was confident ahead of Saturday’s race. In a dramatic twist of events, heavy rain started to fall whilst the drivers were on the green flag lap, but a delay in proceedings allowed a change to wet tyres. Morgan made the most of the conditions to climb into 4th place in the opening laps but sustained heavy damage to his car early on. Despite the car issues, Morgan chased down the pack ahead and became involved in a race long tussle with his KX Akademy teammates, Ash Hand and Ant Whorton-Eales, with championship winner Mike Bushell also being involved. The drivers switched positions lap on lap but, after being forced off the track on 3 occasions, Morgan made a penultimate lap move to climb to 3rd position which he held to the flag. Race 2 took place on Sunday in dry conditions, and with the drivers looking to finish the season on a high, the scene was set for a classic Clio Cup race. The start lived up to expectation as the cars entered turn 1, with two cars being sent into a slide in front of the ensuing pack. Morgan managed to find a clean line through and emerged out of the chaos in 2nd place from 7th on the grid. He soon set about chasing down race leader Paul Rivett and broke the circuit record on his way to closing the gap. After a safety car period and several attempts at passing, Morgan went for an ambitious move on the exit of Hawthorns for the lead which led to a brief track excursion allowing Rivett to open up a slender lead. As he rejoined the circuit, Mike Bushell latched on to Morgan’s tail, eager to snatch 2nd place from the Reading based Solicitor. The two ran side by side on the last lap into turn 1 but Morgan managed to keep his cool and fend off advances from Bushell to take a fantastic 2nd place finish. Speaking about the weekend, Morgan said:
It has been a very intense build up to the weekend but I really wanted to make an impression in the last races of the season. Qualifying didn’t go to plan as I was blocked on my fast lap and so I had an uphill climb in the races. My pace was good in both wet and dry, so I was sure I could hit my target of two podium finishes. The first race was in really difficult conditions and I had a lot of damage on the opening lap. I persevered however and made a robust move from 5th on the penultimate lap to take 3rd place! Sunday’s race was even more eventful especially at the start, but with the dry conditions, I managed to show how quick we were as I caught Paul comfortably. It was difficult to find a way past him and maybe I was a little ambitious but I am delighted to have secured the 2nd place finish despite the little off track adventure! I have the finale in the European Championship next weekend so my focus is firmly on that, and I want to take another two podiums to end my race season.Morgan's last race of the 2014 season will take place on 18th and 19th October at Jerez (Spain) for the season finale of the Eurocup Clio Championship.