03/09/2015

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE’S ROCKINGHAM CIRCUIT NEXT STOP IN RENAULT UK CLIO CUP TITLE BATTLE

The chase for the 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup crown enters a crucial phase at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham circuit this weekend (Sat 5/Sun 6 September) with Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), Ashley Sutton (Bishops Stortford) and Paul Rivett (Epsom) all hoping to stop new championship leader Ash Hand’s (Nuneaton) run of form before the season moves on to its closing rounds at Silverstone and Brands Hatch.
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Hand, protégé of British Touring Car Championship megastar Andy Priaulx, has now won three races in a row with Team Pyro to take over at the top of the table from Whorton-Eales who will be aiming to strike back with his Maximum Motorsport team at Rockingham where he was fastest of all in pre-season testing.

Pyro’s Sutton, backed by the BMR Restart BTCC squad, has now come off second best in three recent attempts to take the race lead from team-mate Hand and, like Whorton-Eales, knows how important it will be get back to winning ways at Rockingham.

Fourth-placed Rivett, who has won the Clio Cup three times before, is also still in the mix with his WDE Motorsport team. He currently trails Hand by 58 points with a maximum of 204 still available from the remaining six races (two each at Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch).

As ever their battle for the title will be fought out in front of another bumper BTCC crowd at Rockingham with the second of their two races – on Sunday – being shown as part of ITV4’s live coverage of the event…

Rivett will surely be hoping team-mates Charlie Ladell (Ipswich) and Rory Green (Hildenborough) can get in among his title rivals and take points off them. Ladell in particular will require strong results if he is to keep ahead of 20Ten Racing’s Jack Mitchell (West Kingsdown) in their scrap over fifth in the standings.

Both are among a number of highly impressive teenage talents to have joined the Clio Cup grid full-time in 2015 with Rory Collingbourne (Newport, South Wales) and George Jackson (Bedford) – both racing for BTCC star Josh Cook’s Team Cooksport outfit – plus JamSport Racing’s Tom Grundy (Dubai) also among this crowd.

Another youngster joining them this weekend at Rockingham is karting ace Josh Price (Redbourn) – aged just 16 he lines up for Pyro alongside Hand and Sutton no less. Another newcomer to the Clio Cup grid at Rockingham is former single-seater champion Luke Kidsley (Northampton) with JamSport – he is actually the team’s driver coach so it will be interesting to see how he fares against young protégé Grundy…

There is also likely to be a close battle for honours in the Masters Cup class for older drivers between Pyro’s Mark Howard (Oakham) and 20Ten’s Graham Field (Nottingham) as both look to mix it with their younger counterparts.