Streather, Finesse result clear demonstration of Renault UK Clio Cup's level playing field

Paul Streather believes his sensational second place on his Renault UK Clio Cup debut is clear proof of just how possible it is for a talented team-driver combination to quickly challenge for big results in the championship.
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Streather came close to beating eventual Champion Ashley Sutton in a gripping final round at Brands Hatch earlier this month – a race that Team Pyro’s Sutton needed to win to have a chance of the title.

Three-times the 26-year-old led across the line in his Finesse Motorsport prepared car before settling for second. Together the pair finished runners-up in this year’s club-level Clio Cup Series before entering the UK Clio Cup’s season finale, although the event did mark a return to grid for Finesse which has been a front-running outfit in the championship before.

Streather said: “Even with Finesse’s experience, we never thought in our wildest dreams we’d get that sort of result – and had it been the first race of the season I would have pushed quite a bit harder. But I was aware of the scenario that Sutton was in and was never going to be the ‘newbie’ that wrecked someone’s championship after they’d been fighting for it all season long.

“We did rub panels a few times but neither of us ever over-stepped the mark. It was a hard but fair fight which is what the crowds and TV viewers want to see, although I have to hold my hand up and say it was an error on my part – I ran wide at Surtees when he had a big look up the inside – that gifted him the lead back near the end.”

Streather says his Brands Hatch result is a clear demonstration of how a well-organised team and driver can quickly be up to speed in the UK Clio Cup which is renowned in British motor sport for its technical equality across the paddock.

“What Brands Hatch proved is that a well-prepared team and driver line-up can be on the pace in the UK Clio Cup – nobody has some magic advantage that nobody else can achieve,” he added. “Finesse have great knowledge with recent experience even in the BTCC but still you have to work together and both Neil Giddings (Team Principal) and I influenced how the car should be.

“Technically the Clio Cup car isn’t ridiculously complicated but there’s still enough on the set-up side to challenge the drivers and engineers. It’s exactly where it should be. And I know with more time together we’ll keep making our set-up better. Ultimately we’ve come in and taken the fight to Team Pyro and the new Champion which shows how achievable the UK Clio Cup is...”

With his appetite for the UK Clio Cup fully whetted, Streather is now working towards racing full-time in the championship in 2016.

He said: “At Brands Hatch it felt amazing to be a part of it – particularly with all the motor sport history behind Renault and the great names the people who run it have worked with in the past.

“During the race with Sutton of course you blank all that out – you are concentrating only getting the job done. But when I crossed the line at the end… I started looking round and could see thousands of thousands of people and the ITV cameras knowing we had just been live on ITV4. Then it hit me and I think I was a little bit in shock which is why I’m glad you’re doing this interview now. I didn’t have many words when I got out of the car!

“A full campaign in 2016 is definitely the plan. Even better it will all start on my favourite circuit, Brands Indy. Although Brands Hatch Grand Prix might be my equal favourite circuit now…”