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Streather keeps his cool to take round one victory at Brands Hatch

Paul Streather resisted race long pressure from behind to win an intense opening round of the 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup today at Brands Hatch ahead of Lee Pattison and Paul Rivett . But there was heartache for Daniel Rowbottom who crashed out at the first bend after starting from pole position on his debut.
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Team Ecomotive’s Rowbottom span out as he and Finesse Motorsport’s Streather jostled for the lead through the infamous Paddock Hill Bend. To make matters worse his stricken car was collected by that of Ciceley Motorsport’s Dan Zelos which was having dramas of its own.

It meant Streather was immediately into first position and from there he successfully held off an attack from the three most experienced drivers on the grid – Cooksport’s Pattison, WDE Motorsport’s Rivett and Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell – to achieve the first UK Clio Cup race win of his career in only his second appearance in the championship.

Pattison, Rivett and Bushell completed the top four who were covered by less than a second across the line. WDE’s Charles Ladell  followed in fifth chased by Max Coates (Scorton) who took sixth on his and the Ciceley team’s UK Clio Cup debut.

Coates also took honours in the Graduates Cup class for young drivers in their first full season in the championship but only just as right behind him was Pyro’s Josh Price.

A jubilant Streather commented: “It’s the perfect start – it was hard work with those three right behind me all the way but nobody tried anything foolish and I always felt in control of the situation.”

Pattison, who is Streather’s step brother-in-law, added: “That’s a great start for everyone in the team – I’ll take those sorts of races every day of the week. I’m very impressed with the driving standards out there. I start on pole for tomorrow’s race so let’s see if we can go one better.”

Three-time Champion Rivett said: “I had a bit of a fight to get back past Bushell before I could have a crack at Streather and Pattison, but unless those two got into each other I don’t think there’d have been a way past. But a podium result in the first round is fine by me – I know only too well that consistency is key to a title challenge.”

The Renault UK Clio Cup, this year celebrating its 25 anniversary season, is back in action tomorrow with its second round from Brands Hatch being broadcast live on ITV4 as part of the channel’s Dunlop British Touring Car coverage. The race, 20 laps, is scheduled to start at 1.25pm.

Elsewhere in today's race Ant-Whorton-Eales and Luke Kidsley took eighth and ninth for JamSport Racing ahead of Paul Plant – tenth on his debut with the Vanquish Motorsport with WDE outfit. Whorton-Eales, among this year’s expected title challengers, also set the race’s fastest lap as he came through from 23rd and last on the grid after he had earlier been excluded from qualifying.

On his debut, BMR-backed Senna Proctor had battled with Whorton-Eales briefly before finishing in 11th. Team Pyro team-mate David Dickenson followed closely in 12th ahead of Cooksport duo Rory Collingbourne and George Jackson. The long queue of cars continued with 20Ten Racing’s Sam Watkins, Ciceley’s Ollie Pidgley, PP Motorsport’s Anton Spires and 20Ten’s Tom Butler filling out the places to 18th.

JamSport’s Graham Field and WDE’s Rory Green were 19th and 20th, both a lap down. Green had been involved in an opening lap tangle involving 20Ten’s Peter Felix who joined Rowbottom and Zelos in retirement.

CLICK HERE for the full race results.