Ash Hand feels a hard-earned maiden Renault UK Clio Cup victory at Donington Park last weekend has put him in a ‘strong position’ for a championship challenge this season.
Hand’s success came in an all-time classic Clio Cup encounter, the Team Pyro racer having launched from fifth to second over the course of the opening lap to put himself in the middle of a breathless four-way fight for the lead.
On lap nine Hand made his decisive move on team-mate Ashley Sutton into Redgate, and as Sutton and co continued fighting behind, Hand made good his escape and sealed victory by almost six seconds.
The maiden victory came at the 37th time of trying for the Nuneaton-based racer, but it comes as a good omen for a successful title bid with the last two champions, Josh Files and Mike Bushell, having only taken their first wins in their third and ultimately successful Clio season.
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Alongside his win and an unfortunate retirement in the opening Donington race, Hand secured a fourth place finish to add to a pole position, a podium finish and a fastest lap at the Brands Hatch season opener.
“It was a great weekend,” said Hand, who sits fourth in the championship standings. “I was ecstatic to get my first win in Clios, especially after scoring five podiums last year – and having had to fight for it makes it even more memorable. The monkey’s finally off my back!
“I’m here with the sole objective of winning the championship, and we’ve put ourselves in a strong position moving forward – so now we need to make sure we keep this momentum going.”