27/07/2017

Why Snetterton this weekend is a big deal for WDE Motorsport

Snetterton this weekend marks an opportunity for not only WDE Motorsport drivers Lee Pattison and Paul Rivett to retaliate against Mike Bushell in the Renault UK Clio Cup title race but also for the squad to come back at Team Pyro in the championship’s Entrants’ Trophy.
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Pattison is currently Bushell’s closest challenger at the top of the table, some 69 points adrift. That means whatever happens at Snetterton Bushell is still guaranteed to leave the Norfolk circuit ahead – there is only a maximum of 68 points available from the two races there on Sunday.

Triple Champion Rivett, incredibly yet to win in 2017, is next up in the standings, just 12 points (the equivalent of a ninth-place finish) behind team-mate Pattison.

In all, eight races remain in 2017 – after Snetterton come 'double-headers' at Rockingham, Silverstone and WDE’s home circuit of Brands Hatch. Added up it means there are still a possible 272 points to be had (eight wins plus eight fastest laps) and Rivett – also WDE’s Team Manager – believes there’s time yet for him and Pattison to reel in Bushell, although he acknowledges it will be tough.

Asked if anyone can stop Bushell becoming Champion in 2017, Rivett replied: “Oh most definitely…but it’s going to take quite a bit!

“Mike’s doing a great job; he’s had luck on his side all the way but he’s been qualifying really strongly and wet qualifying hasn’t suited us in the last two events at Oulton and Croft. That and a bit of bad luck is what’s helped given him more of a lead. But the fight is far from over.

“I think – in fact I know – we’ve had better race pace than Pyro all year long. But where Mike’s done the damage is in qualifying and he is probably the best qualifier on the grid.

“In the races we’ve got the pace there but in qualifying he’s getting that little edge.”

Defeating Bushell though isn’t the only target for WDE. It is just as hungry to win the Entrants’ Trophy which it led up until Oulton Park in June when Pyro – thanks in chief to the efforts of Bushell and team-mates Nathan Harrison and Jack McCarthy – edged ahead.

There are just 27 points between the two outfits arriving at Snetterton with a maximum of 480 to be had before season’s end.

There’s a wry smile when Rivett is asked if he, Pattison and team-mates Dan Zelos and Nicolas Hamilton might plot a plan of attack against their Pyro rivals.

“I couldn’t possibly comment or give away such secrets!” he commented. “But we always work together as a team and we’ve had lots of comments about how well we do that on track particularly in the opening three rounds – because of how qualifying turned out at Oulton and Croft we weren’t really able to do that as well there.

“But I believe from Snetterton onwards it will really come back into play. You also have to remember that we lost Paul Streather early on in the season and if he was in the mix I think we’d be firmly leading the teams’ standings.

“I am sure we can claw it back and I think that will be simpler for us than winning the drivers’ championship. I strongly believe we will be teams’ champion at end of year.”