Ash Hand continued his strong recent run of form in the Renault UK Clio Cup with fourth podium finish in eight races during the penultimate meeting of the season at Rockingham last weekend.
Heading into the weekend off the back of second and fourth place finishes at Knockhill last time out, SV Racing’s Hand returned to the scene of his maiden Clio Cup podium twelve months ago with high hopes for the weekend.
After grappling with understeer in qualifying that left him sixth and seventh on the grid for the two races, the 20 year old was a man on a mission in the opening race.
In the traditional first lap shuffle at Deene hairpin, Hand managed to work his way into third place. Gradually edging away from the frenetic scrap behind in the early stages, Hand maintained the position throughout, fending off a late threat from Paul Rivett.
“I got a good start off the line and then put myself in the right position on the track going into turn one,” Hand recalled. “We didn’t have the ultimate pace to challenge the two leaders, so I concentrated on looking after my tyres and brakes and not making any mistakes.
“I knew Rivett was catching me, but I was never overly concerned and I was always able to respond if he looked like getting too close. Our approach meant we still had good speed towards the end, and it was great to take another podium finish.”
Hand felt he could challenge for another podium finish in the second race of the weekend, however a drive-through penalty for a jump start ended his chances and left him finishing with a lowly ninth place finish.
The KX Akademy member now heads into the final meeting of the season at Brands Hatch in October with one focus on his mind … to win.
“That means Brands Hatch is now my last chance to take a win in the Clio Cup this year,” he added. “There’s not a great deal to be gained championship-wise anymore, so the top step of the podium has to be my target – and that’s what I will be focusing my efforts on.”