Three-time Renault UK Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett (Banstead) will be a last-minute addition to the grid at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit this weekend, 30th/31st March, for the opening two rounds of the 2013 season thanks to a true eleventh hour deal with PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering.
Having resigned himself to being a spectator for the new campaign, the 34-year-old will now instead mount a challenge for an unprecedented fourth Clio Cup title – something only made possible with the backing of PER HIRE, which is owned by former Clio racer Matthew Munson, in addition to other private investment.
“It really couldn’t be any more last minute than this deal, if we’d had any less time left we just wouldn’t have had time to get everything prepared ready to go to Brands for testing on Friday”, said an elated Rivett, “I really can’t believe I’m going to be out there racing this year, to get the call this morning saying we’d be on the grid was a huge surprise, totally unexpected.
“I have to say a massive thank you to Matthew [Munson] and PER HIRE for getting me out there, it’s mainly down to him we’re going to be racing again this year. It goes without saying too, huge thanks to Colin [Stancombe] for working tirelessly on a deal for us to go racing again this year – he really has been working unbelievably hard.”
Rivett’s association with the Renault UK Clio Cup stretches back to 2001 when he made a sensational debut in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category, winning his first race at the wheel of a Stancombe Vehicle Engineering-prepared car.
Going on to win that year’s Winter Series, the Surrey racer claimed his first main season title in 2002 and then took his second Winter Series title a year later. In 2004, he won the main championship again and was Vice-Champion in 2006 and 2008.
With budget difficulties resulting in a season on the sidelines in 2009 and only a part campaign in 2010, Rivett returned for a full championship bid in 2011 and subsequently won his third Renault UK Clio Cup crown. Last year, despite no testing, the PER Hire/SVE driver was close to taking his fourth main season title and he will now start 2013 with the same disadvantage of no pre-season running.
“As it stands the car is just sitting there exactly as it finished the final round of last season at Brands, it hasn’t turned a wheel since so we’ll arrive at the track with it looking exactly the same”, added the 2012 Vice-Champion.
“We didn’t test last year before the season and still won during the first weekend so we’re aiming to do the same again. There are the new Dunlop tyres to get my head around but, hopefully after 10 minutes or so in practice, we’ll understand them and normal service will be resumed!”
PER HIRE/SVE, which is owned and headed by the inimitable husband and wife team of Colin and Maggie Stancombe, is delighted to take up its rightful place in the Renault UK Clio Cup paddock this year but now has an immense amount of hard work to do ahead of testing on Good Friday.
“PER HIRE is a major part of this but we do have some other private investment as well which enabled the deal to come together at about 8.30pm last night”, explained Colin Stancombe, “I was resigned to the fact we weren’t going to be racing in Clios this year, then I got the call. Never have we had such a late deal come together.
“There really has been a lot of hard work going on to get Paul and ourselves back on the Clio grid, we certainly haven’t been resting on our laurels. There’s a huge amount of work to do between now and testing on Friday, a heck of a lot on the engineering side we need to do with the car, but I really am looking forward to it and delighted we’re back.”
The announcement of Rivett’s welcome return brings the number of confirmed entries for rounds one and two of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup up to 23, confirming the health and popularity of the country’s premier one-make saloon car category.
Following pre-event practice on Good Friday, 29th March, qualifying will follow at 12.00 on Saturday, 30th March. Race one is scheduled to take place at 10.20 on Easter Sunday, 31st March, with race two – which will be screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD – getting underway at 15.35. Live streaming of the second encounter will be carried at www.itv.com/btcc
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.