The action could probably not have been closer and the reaction from the public and media possibly not much more excitable. It is fair to say that, alongside the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship, the Clio Cup is producing both the highest calibre and most dramatic racing for the crowds at BTCC events in 2015.
So far the wins have been shared between three drivers: two to championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales; one to closest challenger Ashley Sutton but three to Ash Hand as he plays catch-up following a retirement at Donington Park.
Just 24 points cover them going to Oulton which – thanks to the venue’s excellent views, daunting track lay-out, picnic atmosphere and camping culture – annually attracts over 40,000 people.
Oulton is home territory for Whorton-Eales’s SV Racing team, but that means little in the way of advantage – such are the Clio Cup’s ferocious levels of competition. Indeed at Thruxton most recently he was twice beaten back by Hand and Sutton who took a pair of 1-2 results for their Pyro team.
Not only did Hand take two wins there but his victory in the second of the two races – in which he and Sutton dramatically ran off the track after colliding while braking from 130mph into the final bend – was the fastest race in Clio Cup history (at a dizzying average of just under 100mph).
Watch the Thruxton action
With three-time Champion Paul Rivett (WDE) – the lap record holder at Oulton – and 2014 title challenger Jordan Stilp (20Ten) still to open their victory accounts this season and at least six more drivers looking like potential winners, who knows what will happen.
To find out watch ITV4’s live coverage of the event that runs from 10.30am-6.00pm on Sunday with the Clio Cup race scheduled for 1.00pm.
Three weeks after Oulton comes the Clio Cup’s and BTCC’s annual journey to North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit. The event makes for by far the North East’s biggest motor sporting fixture meaning it also attracts a highly enthusiastic bumper race day crowd. Stilp in particular will go there hoping to repeat his victory double from 2014 – results that undoubtedly set him on his way to challenging for the title.
Oulton Park ticket information.
Buy Croft tickets at advanced discounted prices.