Lee Pattison (Liversedge), the 2010 Renault UK Clio Cup Vice-Champion, will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder series this weekend, 20th/21st April, at Donington Park after re-joining leading squad JHR Developments.
The 38-year-old, who last raced in the Clio Cup in 2011 during a part campaign, enjoyed his greatest success in the category as part of the Steven Hunter-led team and is aiming for a strong return to action in the UK’s premier one-make saloon car series alongside team-mate Josh Cook (Bristol). Pattison’s arrival back in Clios brings the entry list for Donington up to a fantastic 24 competitors.
“It’s going to be a big learning curve”, he said, “The official test tomorrow will be our first proper run in a Clio since the start of 2011, we’ve got the new Dunlop tyres to think about and I’ve been used to a completely different car for the last couple of years. If I can get in the top five in the weekend’s races I’ll be happy – that’ll be a good start.”
First appearing in the Renault UK Clio Cup in 2008, Pattison ended his maiden campaign 10th overall and claimed one win at Silverstone National Circuit. The following year, he was an improved seventh in the championship before racing to the Vice-Champion’s position in 2010 with two victories and five other podiums for JHR.
Combining selected outings in Clios with a part-campaign in the Ginetta GT Supercup in 2011, the West Yorkshire racer began this season in the MINI Challenge but the desire to return to the Clio Cup proved to be too strong to ignore.
“I wanted to be back in a proper race car”, explained the Range Storage, Shackleton Steel Stock, Birmingham Stopper and Manor Paints-supported driver, “Steve [Hunter] wanted me to focus on 2014, when the new Clio arrives, but I wanted to get back out there. It’s great to be back with JHR, hopefully it’ll be a good year.”
Dronfield-based JHR made its return to the Renault UK Clio Cup at the beginning of the year with reigning ‘Rookie Cup’ Champion Josh Cook, after a season away from the series, and team principal Hunter is absolutely delighted to have expanded to two cars in time for rounds three and four.
“We always wanted to come back and be running two cars”, he commented, “With Lee coming back to JHR we have two very good peddlers, plus it’s nice having Lee back for the entertainment value if nothing else! Seriously though, we feel with Lee joining Josh we’ve got a very good team. We already finished second in the championship with Lee in 2010 and I’m sure he’ll be up to speed in no time.”
Pattison’s first ‘official’ run back in the Clio Cup will come during timed testing at Donington Park’s National Circuit tomorrow, Thursday, 18th April. Qualifying and round three will take place on Saturday, 20th April, with round four, which will be screened live on ITV4, on ITV4 HD and streamed online at the www.itv.com/btcc website, to be contested on Sunday, 21st April.
Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.