22/09/2015

Three drivers, four races: Renault UK Clio Cup title race set to go down to wire at Brands Hatch

It now looks a sure bet that one of three drivers – Ash Hand, Ant Whorton-Eales or Ashley Sutton – will be crowned this year’s Renault UK Clio Cup Champion but with just 37 points covering them and 136 still up for grabs in the season’s remaining four races the outcome is far from certain.
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Furthermore those four races come at two circuits that differ considerably in character. The first two take place this coming weekend (Sat 26/Sun 27 Sept) at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix venue of Silverstone whose flat yet extremely fast wide open straights lend themselves to some spectacular slipstreaming contests. It is then on to the final two rounds, around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix track in Kent (Sat 10/Sun 11 Oct) whose swoops and swerves, much of which run through a forest section, have earned it legendary status.

Remember, it will unfold live on ITV4 as part of the channel’s British Touring Car coverage… Fans can also keep fully up to speed via the www.renaultsport.co.uk website.

Hand holds all the aces at present – seven wins inside ten races in his Team Pyro car have helped give him a comfortable 17-point lead over Whorton-Eales at the top of the table.

However Maximum Motorsport’s Whorton-Eales and Sutton, who also drives for the Pyro squad, go into Silverstone’s two rounds this weekend still confident that they can catch Hand after taking a win apiece at Rockingham last time out.

The smart money says that Hand will have to wait until Brands Hatch for his chance – he would need both Whorton-Eales and Sutton to suffer some bad luck at Silverstone to wrap things up at the Northamptonshire circuit.

But there is then the championship’s ‘two dropped scores’ rule to consider – in other words every driver must discard their worst pair of scores when totting up their end of season total. Applied now, Hand’s lead actually goes out to 31 points and should somehow that have increased to 68 after Silverstone’s two races then he will be going home on Sunday evening provisionally the new Champion…

One other driver, Paul Rivett – three times a UK Clio Cup title-winner – still has an outside chance of adding a fourth trophy should Hand, Whorton-Eales and Sutton falter. Rivett has shown some sensational pace of late in his WDE Motorsport-prepared car but even he admits he now needs a minor miracle.

Silverstone is set to boast the biggest Renault UK Clio Cup grid in almost two years with 21 drivers entered – notably two with Italian giant Rangoni Corse which after winning two Eurocup Clio crowns has openly said it is considering entering the UK championship full-time in 2016.