Good start not enough for Cliffe

A great start wasn't enough for Tristan Cliffe to stop Toby Sowery's charge in the opening race of 2014, but the local racer was happy with his second-place finish.

A great start wasn't enough for Tristan Cliffe to stop Toby Sowery's charge in the opening race of 2014, but the local racer was happy with his second-place finish.

"We were side-by-side into Riches; I don't think I had the lead, maybe a quarter of a car length but I left him at least a car's width. He had the inside line up to the hairpin and Olly in third meant I couldn't switchback because he was right there."

Once Sowery was in front he steadily built a gap. Cliffe was then left to deal with some intense pressure from Enigma Motorsport's Oliver Rae, and Cliffe was keen to stay out of trouble.

"Olly divebombed me into Riches; his car was very quick in a straight line. I let him go and didn't fight it too much after what happened last year." Cliffe admitted.

"I had a couple of gos at him over the next few laps, I was quicker than him in the middle part of the lap but on the straights he was better. I had a few looks to try put him off.

"I tried to go down the inside of the Esses (Brundle and Nelson), he defended strongly but then made a mistake coming out of Williams onto the back straight. He had to defend the inside line so I outbraked him around the outside, he stayed alongside in the Essses and we were probably touching wheels. He was still alongside at the Bombhole until I had a moment and he backed off."

Once past, Cliffe was able to maintain the gap. The man in front was now in the distance, and he believes nothing will stop Sowery making it two wins on his debut.

"I think this weekend is Toby's. He hasn't really impacted his tyres and has been driving very well. I don't think there's going to be a big improvement from me and I don't think he's going to get slower. 

"The runaway winner of last year was caught, she won the first race by over 20 seconds and I won Brands GP similarly. These dominant performances can be flash in the pan but his times in testing have been very impressive. The season's long though, we'll have to up our game and take the fight to him."

Cliffe starts alongside Sowery on the front row again for Sunday's race two at 14:05. Follow @F3Cup for live updates and like /F3Cup for the latest news.

Photo credit Andrew Cliffe/Norwich Photo