Ash Hand cracked the top five for the first time in his fledgling car racing career with a brilliant performance during the latest rounds of the Renault UK Clio Cup at Snetterton.
Hand had concluded the opening half of the campaign with a brace of sixth-place finishes at Croft, giving him high hopes of moving up the grid when the series returned from its six week summer break in Norfolk.
Despite a red flag scuppering one of his flying laps in qualifying, Hand was still able to put his Team Pyro-run Clio ninth on the grid for race one, and sixth for race two.
The first race didn’t start to plan for Hand, with a lot of wheel-spin dropping him to eleventh off the line. The 19 year old soon started battling his way through the field. Heading into the final lap in seventh, a collision in front promoted him up to fifth, his best result of the season so far.
A great start to race two saw him thread his way through the middle of the front row to gain two places, however he found himself hung out to dry on the outside of the first corner, dropping to ninth. After a messy opening couple of laps, Hand settled into seventh place and despite his best efforts, he couldn’t make any further progress.
The results move Hand back into the top ten in the championship heading into the final two meetings at Rockingham and Brands Hatch GP.
“Despite the frustrations, Snetterton was another extremely positive weekend overall,” he reflected. “We are genuinely making massive progress. I went well at Rockingham during testing and am really looking forward to racing there, and after barely scraping into the top ten at Brands Hatch back at the beginning of the campaign, I want to return and demonstrate how much I have improved by fighting up at the sharp end this time. If we can just have a good qualifying session and get the right breaks in the race, a podium is definitely on the cards.”