Dereham racer Zelos heads into summer break with plenty to build on

Dan Zelos fights through the field at Croft. Picture: Russell Atkins

Dan Zelos fights through the field at Croft. Picture: Russell Atkins - Credit: Archant

Dan Zelos showcased his growing confidence and overtaking capabilities as the 2017 Renault UK Clio Cup raced into Croft, with the talented young Dereham ace fighting through the field from lowly grid slots to bring home another solid points haul.

Zelos made impressive early progress in Saturday's rain-plagued contest, only to then tumble down the order again when an ambitious overtaking attempt failed to come off.

He immediately set about regaining lost ground and had recovered to 12th when he found himself caught out by a rivals' error, dropping him down the field to 16th. Following a late safety car period, a final dash saw Zelos salvage 13th position at the chequered flag.

In front of the live ITV4 television cameras the next day, the teenager made a promising start to race two and navigated his way past a spinning car broadside across the track on lap one to advance to eighth.

Thereafter, he settled into a multi-car battle over fourth, posting several fastest sector times in evidence of his potential and mastering occasionally drizzly conditions on slick tyres to seal a seventh-place finish.

The result consolidated Zelos' eighth spot in the championship standings, and the fourth-quickest lap overall — barely a 10th-of-a-second adrift of the race-winner — hinted at what would likely have been possible had only he started further up the grid.

That, he reveals, will be the key focus during the seven-week summer break now before the action resumes on his home turf at Snetterton at the end of July.

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'It's fair to say Croft was a mixed weekend,' reflected the former Dereham Sixth Form College student after an eventful couple of days.

'We were there-or-thereabouts in practice, but as a team, we seemed to lose a little bit of speed in qualifying compared to our main rivals — we just lacked that edge when it came to single-lap pace.

'I've not had much running in the wet in the Clio either, which perhaps explains why I struggled a bit more than my team-mates in those conditions — I've generally been quicker than them in qualifying recently, but I didn't have the same confidence to push as they did this time.

'Starting position is so important when the championship is as competitive as it is at the moment.'