Ash Hand has expressed his frustration and disappointment after seeing mechanical problems blunt his challenge for the 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup title during the season finale at Brands Hatch GP.
Hand headed into the meeting with a fifteen point championship lead over his Team Pyro stablemate Ashley Sutton, but saw power issues in qualifying and suspension problems in race two derail his weekend.
A loose turbo pipe on his fourth-generation Clio restricted him to sixth and fourth in qualifying, and while he was able to battle to second in race one, his suspension troubles in race two saw him drop to seventh, handing the title to double race-winner Sutton.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Hand reflected. “We’ve fought so hard and I’ve driven so well all season, so to then lose the championship through no fault of our own is gutting. We did all we could, but sometimes the situation is beyond your control and mechanical problems cost us dearly.
“It’s not much in the way of consolation, but I’ll always know that I scored more wins, poles and fastest laps than anybody else. I led the championship for the majority of the season and have a lot of people to thank for helping to mould me into the driver I am today, particularly my mentor Andy Priaulx, my mind coach Dr. Ben Chell at iZone and of course all my loyal sponsors.”
Despite the disappointment of losing the title, Hand, who finished the year with thirteen podium finishes including seven wins, acknowledged the achievements of his team-mate Sutton as he looked ahead to the future.
“Congratulations to Ashley on winning the title, he raced well and is a worthy champion, and I’ve enjoyed competing against him,” he added.
“Hopefully we’ll have more battles further down the line, but after three great years in the Renault UK Clio Cup, I’m already thinking about the future and there are plenty of interesting opportunities on the horizon and exciting times ahead.”