10/10/2017

Hanafin looking to close on championship lead with more wins at Pembrey

After taking a clean sweep of pole position, win and fastest lap last time out at Brands Hatch, Lorcan Hanafin is on a confidence high as he seeks to close on the Renault UK Clio Cup Junior championship lead at Pembrey this weekend.
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Team Pyro driver Lorcan, still aged just 14, lies seventh in the standings heading into rounds five and six (out of eight) at the Carmarthenshire circuit.

An exclusion from the opening round at Snetterton was a setback but his pace has been extraordinary as proven by three pole positions, two fastest laps and of course his maiden win at Brands Hatch – his winning margin was almost five seconds.

Incidentally his poles at Snetterton and Brands Hatch and fastest lap at the latter have each established qualifying and race records at those circuits for the new UK Clio Cup Junior category.

“I was delighted with the win at Brands – it was a pressure off my shoulders and I’m definitely looking for more wins at Pembrey,” commented Lorcan.

“I think it’ll be very close again there between everyone – it’s not dissimilar to Snetterton with a long straight and a few technical corners. Remember at Setterton which is probably twice as long the whole grid was covered by less than a second.

“Also the power levels of these cars and the way they are built and engineered helps to keep it close between everyone. It’s very even and I think we’re in for some very close competition again.”

Like many young drivers now viewing Clio Cup racing as their next step Lorcan hails from a successful early career in karting.

He added: “Definitely the skills you learn in karting you can transfer to this car – even though they are very different in design, it feels quite natural.

“Obviously practice and preparation are very important – I had Nick Tandy (Le Mans 24 Hours winner in 2015) take me around Brands Hatch in the car and then we swapped seats.

“I’ve built a lot of trust with the car so know its capabilities and limits. Maybe the others haven’t found that quite as quickly as me and that is a big thing.”

Lorcan is currently 23 points adrift of the championship lead but with a maximum of 68 on offer from Pembrey’s two races – 32 for a win, two more for a fastest lap – he knows he has an opportunity to cut that gap before the title-deciding final rounds back at Brands Hatch in November.

The eventual Champion will win a free registration into the senior UK Clio Cup which races live on ITV4 alongside the British Touring car Championship – a prize valued at £18,000.

Lorcan said: “I’ve got ground to make up but that makes me even more determined! Winning the title would be great of course. The prize is terrific but it would also show that practice and preparation – testing, working in the gym and so on – really pays off.”