Renault UK Clio Cup

Preview: Three Becomes One In Brands Hatch Clio Cup Finale

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Three drivers head into the 2015 Renault UK Clio Cup season finale at Brands Hatch GP this weekend in contention for the title, but only one can emerge with the title.

Ash Hand sits in the hot seat heading into the final two races, but only eighteen points split him, Ashley Sutton and Ant Whorton-Eales on dropped scores at the head of the standings with two races remaining.

Hand’s advantage was slashed last time out at Silverstone as he failed to finish on the podium for the first meeting this season, but an unmatched seven wins and eight pole positions this year ensures the Team Pyro ace stays in front.

Whorton-Eales and Sutton are the in-form drivers heading to Kent, having each taken a win apiece in the last two meetings. For the former, it marks a resurgence with new team Maximum Motorsport, while Pyro’s Sutton continues to star in his maiden Clio Cup campaign.

Paul Rivett meanwhile saw his outside chances of challenging for a fourth title come to all but an end at Silverstone, meaning the WDE Motorsport ace can focus on adding to his eight podium finishes so far this season at a circuit he won at twelve months ago.

Outside of the title picture, it was a Silverstone weekend to forget for Charlie Ladell, Rory Collingbourne and George Jackson, with all three keen to hit back at Brands. Ladell’s top five championship standing is confirmed, meaning he can focus on breaking into the top four in the races for the first time.

Team Cooksport duo Collingbourne and Jackson both took career-best fourth place finishes at Rockingham last month, and they’ll be hoping for more of the same this time out as they aim to help Cooksport overhaul WDE for second in the Entrants’ Trophy.

WDE’s Dan Holland will be one to watch meanwhile as he returns to the scene of a stunning fourth place finish in only his fourth ever Clio race twelve months ago, having carded a first podium finish last time out at Silverstone.

Another driver to go strongly at Brands GP last season was Alex Sedgwick, taking a top five finish in Ginetta Juniors. Sedgwick will be targeting a repeat of that result this time out, having starred on his Clio debut at Silverstone with fifth in qualifying.

Alongside Sedgwick, Tom Witts also impressed on his Silverstone debut with a top six finish, a result he’ll be looking to build on this time out with Maximum Motorsport, while 2015 Michelin Clio Cup Series vice-champion Paul Streather could well make a similar impact on his debut with the returning Finesse Motorsport.

Tom Grundy is on a positive run of top seven qualifying results, while Josh Price scored a maiden top five race finish at Silverstone, meaning both are top six contenders this weekend, while Grundy’s team-mate Luke Kidsley will be looking to bounce back from a big Silverstone accident.

Tom Butler and Sam Watkins were other debutants at Silverstone, and they’ll be back in action again at Brands with 20Ten Racing having taken best finishes of eleventh and thirteenth respectively in their maiden outings, while Jon Maybin returns for a third appearance of the season with Cooksport having finished in the top seven in all four previous races.

While the main title is still up for grabs, the destination of the other class titles on offer have been decided ahead of the meeting. Sutton has wrapped up the Graduate Cup honours, Howard is the Masters Cup champion, and Team Pyro have been crowned the Entrants Trophy victors.

Howard will be out to add to his four Masters class victories so far this season at Brands to bring his title season to an ideal conclusion, while Graham Field will be looking to get one over his season-long rival and add to his sole class success so far at Oulton Park in June.

The season finale kicks off with Friday practice, during which the teams and drivers will fine tune their set-ups ahead of qualifying at 10:55 on Saturday. The opening race follows that afternoon at 15:00, with the live televised final race of the season at 13:30 on Sunday.

Full championship standings ahead of the weekend can be found here.

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