With a thrilling championship duel and a host of talented drivers battling at the front of the field, the Renault UK Clio Cup has produced a memorable 2016 season so far, and it looks set to continue over the second half of the campaign.
It’s not just at the head of the grid where the action is fierce however, with the ultra-competitive series having talent throughout the field – twelve different drivers have posted top six finishes so far, with a further five having breached the top ten.
We’ve looked down the championship standings and picked out five drivers that we feel are ones to watch in the remaining races as they aim to improve on a difficult season so far, establish themselves at the front of the pack or build on the success they’ve achieved to date.
Daniel Rowbottom – Team EcoMotive
Rowbottom’s maiden Clio campaign started in remarkable fashion back in April as he lined up for his debut race on pole position at Brands Hatch, but since then the 27 year old has only featured in the top five in one more session.
That was with a seasons best fifth place finish last time out at Croft, one of seven top ten results in a consistent first five meetings. The focus is now on moving forwards on the grid, and he is more than capable of becoming a podium contender as the season develops.
Josh Price – Team Pyro
Heading into his first full Clio season with a positive debut three weekend spell at the end of 2015 and a strong pre-season testing programme under his belt, Price has been able to make a huge impression over the opening half of the campaign.
The 17 year old shot into the spotlight at Thruxton with top three finishes across qualifying and the races, and another podium followed at Croft. With the progress he’s made over the season so far, anything is possible in the remaining rounds and race wins are certainly within his grasp.
George Jackson – Team Cooksport
After securing a breakthrough fourth place finish towards the end of his maiden Clio campaign last year, there were high hopes for Jackson heading into 2016, but in truth it was a relatively subdued first half of the season for the Cooksport man.
Jackson did prove once again he can fight at the front of the field however with a standout weekend at Donington Park, during which he qualified fifth and finished the opening race in sixth, and he could be one driver to spring a few surprises in the four weekends left.
Dan Zelos – Ciceley Motorsport
It’s clear that Zelos has the pace to be a front-runner in the Clios, with three top six qualifying results confirming that, but a combination of some mistakes and simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time has severely limited his race results so far this campaign.
After retiring from half of the first ten races and taking just a best finish of sixteenth, the Ginetta Junior graduate has used the summer break to regroup and focus his attention on making his presence felt at the front of the field in the remaining races.
Anton Spires – PP Motorsport
After spending most of 2015 on the sidelines, Spires has been working hard this season to make the most of his break in the Clio Cup and move himself up the order – effort that was rewarded at Thruxton with a breakthrough double top six finish.
With only two other top ten finishes to his name though, there’s still lots to learn for both team and driver in their first season in the series, and as they continue to acclimatise to the car and the championship, they are more than capable of regularly matching, or beating, their Thruxton efforts.
The 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup returns to action next weekend (30/31 July) with Rounds 11 and 12 at Snetterton in Norfolk. In preparation, you can read our full mid-season review on the action so far by clicking here.