The UK Clio Cup will storm into Thruxton this weekend, the Hampshire circuit will host the fifth and sixth rounds of the championship on their high speed rough surfaced track. The UK Clio Cup will be supporting the iconic British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at what is known to be one of the county’s largest sports fixtures of the entire year. The weekend is set to be the hottest the country has yet seen during 2016, which will make it all the better for the spectators to be around the circuit. The excellent viewing areas around the circuit will leave the fans to see the fantastic door-to-door racing from all different angles.
The two races will take place on Sunday with the on track action being shown live on ITV4 as part of the bumper support action filling in the gaps between the BTCC races between 11am and 6:20pm.
Picture Credit: Tilley Photography
Similar to the British Touring Car Championship the UK Clio Cup has had four different race winners in the four opening races of the season. There are still plenty of drivers who are looking to claim their first victory of the 2016 season. The two races taking place at Thruxton will for sure be action packed with close racing. Thruxton is well known for throwing up late twists for the competitors to have to deal with.
Finesse Motorsport’s Paul Streather, Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison, JamSport’s Ant Whorton Eales and WDE’s Paul Rivett are the four different race winners from the four opening races thus far.
WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett is very consistent meaning he is the driver leading the championship as the championship heads to the Hampshire circuit. At Donington Park Rivett celebrated his remarkable 100th podium result in the UK Clio Cup Championship and is hopeful of claiming more victories around the high speed circuit. This year sees him going for title number four. Most of the competitors have been quick to say that they all think Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison will be the guy to beat around Thruxton.
Pattison has always been one of the few drivers able to excel around the fastest circuit on the calendar as well as in the UK, he has won twice on the circuit already in his career. Pattison’s qualifying lap record around the circuit was set in 2014 where he achieved a dizzying speed average of 102.11mph, which at the moment stands as the fastest lap ever recorded in a car used in the UK Clio Cup. Pattison is eager to strike back immediately after suffering a poor result in one of the two races held at Donington Park three weeks ago. The Cooksport driver had lead the points table after Brands Hatch as they headed into the Leicestershire circuit but lost the lead of the table after suffering from contact and damage around the circuit drops him back into third behind Rivett and Streather.
The whole of the UK Clio Cup grid are looking likely to all be able to fight for podiums and race wins during the season. They have all shown immense pace throughout the opening four races of the season.
Former UK Clio Cup champion Mike Bushell set the fastest times of all of the competitors during last month’s official Thruxton test for the Team Pyro squad. Also it was at the Hampshire circuit that Bushell took his first win before going on to take the title.
Ciceley Racing’s Max Coates has felt right at home in the UK Clio Cup after he made his BTCC debut last year. Coates took two strong fourth place finishes at Donington to show what he is capable of achieving him. Charles Ladell in the WDE Motorsport run Clio Cup car and Cooksport’s George Jackson are both very confident of going on to take high end finishes at the high speed circuit after putting on a dazzling performance at Donington. It was Donington that Ladell took his maiden podium in the championship.
Ollie Pidgley, who lives near Salisbury and is a track instructor at Thruxton, teammate Dan Zelos, Pyro’s Josh Price, Senna Proctor and David Dickenson along with Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne, Ecomotive/Finesse Motorsport’s Daniel Rowbottom and Paint Perfect Motorsport’s Anton Spires, Vanquish Motorsport/WDE’s Paul Plant, 20Ten Racing’s Sam Watkins and JamSport’s Luke Kidsley have all proven how well they can do and have all shown their front running pace throughout the four races.
The ‘Masters Cup’ runner Graham Field adds to JamSport’s numbers whilst Finesse have brought in 2014 GT4 Champion Jake Giddings to assist title hopeful Paul Streather and Rowbottom on the high speed circuit where a tow is key to qualifying well.
The UK Clio Cup is definitely a very competitive championship where there are multiple drivers who could end up becoming 2016 champion.
© Fay Tilley 6th May 2016.