Ash Hand found himself just missing out on a podium finish in the latest rounds of the Renault UK Clio Cup at Thruxton, finishing fourth in round five before spinning out of third in round six.
Hand showed no signs of nerves as he returned to the circuit at which he suffered a 125mph testing accident in pre-season, and the 20 year old put himself in the top six on the grid for both races.
After finding himself slowed by a stalled car in front of him on the grid, Hand was a man of a mission in race one. Muscling his way up the order, the KX Akademy protégé took fourth at the flag on the tail of the podium finishers.
Race two saw Hand in the thick of the action in a six-way battle for the lead. Running third for a long time, a second podium finish of the season looked well within his sights until an unfortunate spin at the chicane on lap ten left him recovering to ninth at the flag.
“I got a mega run through Church and looked up the inside of Lee Pattison heading down towards the chicane,” SV Racing’s Hand said of the race two misfortune.
“Lee saw me coming and closed the door, so I cut across to the outside. My front-right wheel was overlapping with his rear-left when out of nowhere, he hit the brakes really hard. That caught me by surprise, so I jumped on the brakes, too, but as I did so, the rear of my car stepped out and we made contact.
“These things happen sometimes when you are pushing – and waiting around in third wasn’t cutting it, to be honest, because I had worked so hard to fight my way up there and was so close I could almost smell victory. It was there for the taking, and I knew I needed to make it happen rather than just sitting back and settling for the podium.
“Of course it was a frustrating way to finish a weekend that had promised so much more, but I’m a racing driver and I’m going to go for gaps when I see them – otherwise, what’s the point? We showed we are here to win, so roll on Oulton Park!”