Clio Cup Star Hand: “I Don’t Feel We Lost The Championship Really”


Ash Hand has told TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk that he feels he personally did everything possible to win the 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup title, only losing the championship due to problems outside of his control.

Hand sat atop the championship standings for long spells across the campaign, courtesy of a run of seven wins in ten races through the middle of the season, including clean sweeps of the Thruxton and Knockhill weekends.

The third year contender saw problems in the closing meetings of the season derail his title challenge though, opening the door for his Team Pyro stablemate Ashley Sutton to secure the honours at the season finale.

“I don’t feel like we lost the championship really, in terms of what I did as a driver,” Hand told TCF’s Connor Jackson this week.

“We managed to get a few wins at the start and went on to dominate really. At the end of the season we had some issues, some technical and mechanical problems, which stuffed us from winning the championship.

“I did everything I could, we won as many races as possible, outclassing the rest of the field really in terms of wins and commitment in every race, so in the end we had a really good season with a lot of great results.”

Hand seemed to be on track to take the title following the visit to Knockhill in August, during which the 21 year old converted a double pole position into a pair of victories to extend his advantage to 35 points on dropped scores with six races remaining.

Hand Carded Seven Wins, Thirteen Podiums And Eight Pole Positions This Year - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography
Hand Carded Seven Wins, Thirteen Podiums And Eight Pole Positions This Year – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

A pair of podium finishes at Rockingham next time out maintained his lead, but Hand says issues were developing beneath the bonnet that he feels were key to him being only able to finish on the podium just once in the final four races.

“We were 35 points ahead with three rounds to go, and had no issues with anything. We were winning every round, every race, it was becoming easy at that point,” he reflected. “At Knockhill we drove off, we had good speed all weekend, we were quite technical, strategic, in all it was a good weekend.

“Then we struggled a little bit at Rockingham and were not able to get our heads round why. We didn’t really seem to have the power, and then at Silverstone we had a few more technical issues with engine power and the car.

“At Brands Hatch we had a car on the Saturday for the first race that was really good, but in qualifying the car broke down with an engine problem. Finally in the last race of the day we had massive engine problems, the car just didn’t want to work for us, so we ended up losing the championship because of that.”

Hand’s attention is now turning to next season though and having enjoyed prize tests in BTCC and Renault Sport Trophy RS.01 machinery recently, he says he has plenty of options to consider for his fourth season in car-racing.

“I’ve got a few possibilities next year so far,” he added. “I went out to Spain at the end of last month to test in the RS-01 which is exciting, so that’s something to look at next year. I know we’ve also got a couple options with Porsche and Germany with other European drives, so that’s something we’re looking towards.

“We want to stay with the Renault family though, it’s definitely something to keep in, so it’s about getting the data and testing the car, seeing what we’re going to do.”