27/05/2016

“Podiums needed in every race from now,” insists Cooksport ace Pattison

Lee Pattison says podium results in both his home Renault UK Clio Cup rounds at Oulton Park will be crucial to his title chances in 2016.
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After heading the championship early on, the last three races have not gone to plan and he will arrive at Oulton third in the standings, 12 points adrift of leader Paul Rivett.

It’s a small gap by UK Clio Cup standards – 32 points are awarded for a win and there are still 12 rounds to run including the two at Oulton.

But the experienced Pattison senses that anyone with serious title aspirations in 2016 needs to be on top of his game from here on given the ultra-competitive nature of 2016’s grid.

The 41-year-old from Scholes in Greater Manchester commented: “There are five of us who’ve made a bit of a break at the front but there are a lot of very quick younger drivers who have shown at every meeting they are capable of taking points off the established names.

“In my mind we need podiums in every race from now on to be in with a chance at the end of the season.

“The last three rounds have not worked out but I’m not getting down about it – it happens to everyone in motor sport. I’m just hoping my bad luck is out of the way now and at Oulton we are back on the podium where we belong.”

Pattison’s biggest setback to date was in race two at Donington Park when contact with Rivett’s WDE team-mate Charlie Ladell sent him into a spin. He finished a lowly 17th after pitting for repairs. At Thruxton, a circuit at which he always excels, fuel surge in the latter stages of race one dropped him from second to fifth. In race two he needed to pick his way through to fourth after a near-miss involving team-mate George Jackson cost him dear in qualifying.

“Thruxton was damage limitation,” reflected Pattison. “Race one we should have been second and in race two we at least managed to come through to fourth.

“It’s all about those sorts of moments going in your favour or not… they lead to the to-ing and fro-ing I think we are going to see a lot of all season and which influence the final outcome. Consistency this year perhaps more than ever before is going to be the key.”

Now to Oulton, a circuit he adores and which he is feeling confident about.

“My last time there was in 2014 and I was on the podium and also one of the pace-setters so I feel good about it,” added Pattison.

“It’s really challenging – a real driver’s track with the undulations, blind crests and cambers. It's one of my favourites, if not my favourite. I think our two races are going to be very entertaining and anyone watching at Knickerbrook is going to see a lot of action in front of them and over towards Cascades.

“There are places to create an overtaking opportunity at Oulton but I think it’s going to be a case of if you see a gap you have to go for it. If someone is going to get semi-defensive then you could be in for a frustrating afternoon. It’s not for the faint-hearted – you need to stick your neck out and be bold.”