Zelos is all geared up to make a second-season impact in the Clio Cup

Dan Zelos aims to climb the Clio Cup grid after joining WDE Motorsport for sophomore season. Picture

Dan Zelos aims to climb the Clio Cup grid after joining WDE Motorsport for sophomore season. Picture: Russell Atkins Media. - Credit: Archant

Dan Zelos is approaching his second season in the Renault UK Clio Cup in optimistic mood, after signing up to contest the single-make, ITV4-televised British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) feeder series with WDE Motorsport.

The gifted young Norfolk ace graduated to the UK Clio Cup last year following a brace of competitive campaigns in the Ginetta Junior Championship that had yielded two victories and multiple podium finishes.

The highly-rated Dereham-based driver showcased his potential by qualifying third amongst the 23 protagonists on his debut at Brands Hatch Indy, claiming two further top-six grid slots at Thruxton and taking the chequered flag inside the top 10 at both Snetterton and Rockingham.

Zelos made the most of the winter break to put pen to paper to race for WDE.

'We'd been talking to WDE on-and-off for a while,' explained the 18-year-old Norwich University of Arts undergraduate and former Dereham Sixth Form College student. 'I first met Team Principal Wayne Eason over a year ago, and he's always been quick to sing my praises.

'Last year was character-building for me — it was a big step from Ginetta Juniors, and four retirements from the first five races left us immediately on the back foot. Having always been so consistent, that knocked my confidence and at the same time, there was so much to get my head around. We only had limited testing before going into the season and I had to get used to both front wheel-drive and slick tyres from scratch.

'We showed flashes of form and I was really beginning to get to grips with it all in the latter stages.

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I can't wait to get back out in the car to begin testing with WDE. I have everything at my disposal to succeed and I'm really looking forward to seeing how we get on. The objective has to be to come out-of-the-blocks fighting fit, and I want to be regularly inside the top 10 and targeting podium finishes by the second half of the season.'

Eason and WDE manager Rivett are eager to see how their new protégé fares and are bullish about Zelos' ability to shine in a championship that has in the past helped to catapult Andrew Jordan, Sam Tordoff, Mat Jackson and Ashley Sutton to BTCC stardom.