Ash Hand continued his superb start to the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup at Thruxton, the car-racing rookie moving into the fight for a potential top six finish.
After establishing himself in the top ten in the previous rounds at Brands Hatch and Donington Park, Hand stepped forward on the grid in qualifying, putting himself fifth and sixth on the grid for the two races around the high-speed Hampshire circuit.
A slow getaway at the start of race one in his Team Pyro-prepared Clio dropped him into the pack, with resulting contact in the first corner crush bending his left rear axle. Down to eleventh at the end of lap one, the 19 year old drove around the damage, producing some great overtakes to fight his way back up to eighth at the finish.
A better launch in race two saw Hand stay right in the fight for a top six finish, with a couple of superb moves seeing him move up to fifth place. The Sigma and QTS-backed driver looked set to finish there, however coming out of the final chicane for the last time, an electrical issue caused his car to suddenly slow to a crawl,
Hand now lies ninth in the points table ahead of the next weekend at Oulton Park in early June.
“I was really happy with my form and pace over the weekend, and I feel like I’m getting more comfortable and increasingly bedded into the Clio Cup every time I take to the track,” said Hand. “Oulton is one of my favourite stops on the calendar; it’s a real drivers’ circuit and one that definitely rewards bravery. I’ve always been quite fast there, so I just need to take everything I’ve learned so far and put it to good use – and if we do that, I don’t see any reason why we can’t aim for the podium.”