Team Pyro’s Hand will provisionally become the new UK Clio Cup Champion if he wins race one on Saturday. Even if chief rivals, Team BMR Restart with Pyro’s Ashley Sutton and Maximum Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales were to fill the next two podium positions they still would not be able to catch him in Sunday’s final round.
Much of Hand’s advantage is down to the winning spree he went on – seven victories in 11 races – earlier in the season, although the last four rounds at Rockingham and Silverstone have been shared two apiece by Sutton and Whorton-Eales. Sutton has emerged as Hand’s closest challenger when the all-important ‘two-dropped-scores’ rule is applied…
Hand, a protégé of three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, commented: “I’m not racing for points at Brands Hatch. I am going there with every intention of winning the title with a dominant finish.
“Maybe I was a bit reserved at Rockingham and Silverstone and it’s caught me out so I want to get back to business and win again with fastest laps in both races too.
“The other drivers think they have a chance… if I turn up at Brands Hatch in the same form I was in, say, at Knockhill or Thruxton then they have no chance.
“Whorton-Eales and Sutton might think they’ve got me on the run – a bit like a pack of wolves chasing an injured dog. If that’s the case then you have to turn round and bite them back and bite them hard.”
At present there is some uncertainty as to what the weather will do at Brands Hatch – there hasn’t been a wet race yet during the 2015 UK Clio Cup season.
Hand said: “I’ve no real preference, but if it rains I’d prefer to be in front because of the visibility. Either way I know what it takes to be fast around the Brands Hatch GP circuit – I was on pole there last year.”