Everyone now a ‘danger man’ says Rivett ahead of Oulton Park rounds

Renault UK Clio Cup points leader Paul Rivett believes 2016’s title race could become more than just about the current top five and turn into an eight-way fight at least by season’s end.
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The WDE Motorsport ace who has won the crown three times since 2002 goes into this weekend’s latest two rounds at Cheshire’s Oulton Park with a six-point advantage at the top of the table.

But he said: “That is nothing in the UK Clio Cup – a race win gets you 32 points and there are still 12 races to go including the two at Oulton.

“Sure there are five of us who’ve cut free slightly of the rest in the opening six rounds but some of the younger drivers have shown they are gaining in confidence, pace and race craft all the time.

“I’d say now there are at least three more drivers who are genuinely in with a chance of winning every time out and there’s still time for them to come into the equation in terms of the championship – it could be eight even nine, ten drivers still in with a shout when we get to the closing rounds.

“Last year’s championship was really special in terms of excitement, although it was probably the same three or four drivers on the podium or doing the winning. This year the level of competition has gone up again – the quality out there is exceptional. It’s the place to be if you want to prove yourself.”

After missing out at Thruxton, Rivett is confident he and his WDE squad will be back on podium form at Oulton where they took victory 12 months ago (pictured left). Likewise at every venue that follows right up to the season finale on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in early October.

“We’ve got Thruxton out of the way now – we always sensed that would be our weakest track, but we still had great pace and started from the front row of the grid and came away still in front,” he said.

“But look at all the other circuits coming up – we won at Oulton last year, were on pole at Croft and fought for the wins at both Rockingham and Silverstone. We won at Brands GP in 2014 and the last time we went to Snetterton, also in 2014, we were on the podium.

“We’re going to Oulton very much with extending our championship lead in mind and I’d agree with what Lee Pattison said on your website a few days ago – podiums are a must in every race from now on. That’s never easy when there are so many competitive teams and drivers in it now – there are always going to be 17 or 18 disappointed faces at the end of each race.”

Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell – the 2014 Champion – suddenly looked to have the measure of everyone at Thruxton with two dominant poles and a crushing win on the road in race two until a time penalty relegated him to second. It is Bushell who is Rivett’s closest rival at the top of the championship but the triple champ is not reading too much into Thruxton’s results.

Rivett added: “He obviously came good at Thruxton but I don’t suddenly see him as the ‘danger man’ just because of that. He and Pyro had done a lot of testing there before so it wasn’t a surprise. No, I see everyone out there now as a danger man. On saying that I don’t think it will be long before he gets a first win of the season.

“Then again if there is one thing I have learnt down the years it is you can never predict what is going to happen in the UK Clio Cup. It’s so close at the front that it only takes one small thing to happen in the lead bunch for others to sneak in and take the points.

“I honestly don’t see anyone walking away with it, but it is looking very good for us at the moment.”