WORCESTERSHIRE’S Dan Rowbottom bounced back from a troubled start to his Renault UK Clio Cup season with a podium result at Croft.

After struggling with Team Pyro Rowbottom decided to operate independently, leaving him just two weeks to buy a new car from Renault in France.

But the Cataclean-backed driver who was born in Worcester and now lives in Kidderminster did not let that faze him as he put down a marker with a sixth-placed finish in qualifying.

“We had some urgent discussions with Cataclean after Oulton Park and we felt that we could do a good job running the car on our own,” Rowbottom said.

“We ordered a new car which wasn’t ready until Monday of race week.

“I got a brief run on a track day at Donington on Wednesday and then we had to head for Croft so it was all a bit last minute.

“We did what we could but all the data on tyres from last year is redundant now, so we were playing catch up a bit.”

Rowbottom made an excellent start to the opening 12-lap race, grabbing fifth place on the run to the first corner and then hunting James Dorlin for fourth.

Approaching the hairpin, he squeezed alongside his rival. As Dorlin braked late, he clipped Lee Pattison’s car which in turn spun and allowed Rowbottom to move up into third.

Although he dropped away from the top two, Rowbottom was delighted to finish on the podium.

“I’m relieved,” Rowbottom said.

“It has been a really tiring week trying to get everything ready but a podium is a great result.

“It was a bit frustrating the tyres went off a bit early in the race and hence I couldn’t stay with the leaders but that is part of our learning curve.

“I was a bit disappointed with qualifying but this is a great result so the season starts here.”

The drama was not over for Rowbottom as race officials looked at the incident with Dorlin and Pattison. Rowbottom was given a penalty to drop him behind Pattison only for the clerk to reinstate him in third place following an appeal.

But he was hit with a two-place grid drop for the second race. Starting in sixth position, Rowbottom closed the gap on third-placed Pattison but was unable to overtake him.

“To come here and be quickest in testing and take a third and a fourth is a great reward for a lot of hard work and to repay the faith Cataclean have shown,” he added.

Rowbottom is now fourth in the championship as he prepares for rounds 11 and 12 in the Sunday Renault UK Clio Cup at Snetterton next month.