Renault Sport Trophy Campaign For Clio Cup Runner-Up Hand

by Simon Paice

Reigning Renault UK Clio Cup vice-champion Ash Hand will compete in the Renault Sport Trophy this season, driving a R.S. 01 prototype for defending champions Oregon Team.

Hand starred in the Clio Cup last season with Team Pyro with an unmatched seven race victories as part of thirteen podium finishes en-route to second in the final standings.

Following successful tests at Jerez and Estoril, Hand will share an R.S. 01 with 2015 title protagonist David Fumanelli for the endurance races through the season, which run to a Pro-Am format.

Alongside an endurance racer on each weekend, there will be separate sprint outings for the ‘Pro’ and ‘Am’ competitors, with Hand lining up in the latter class.

The prize for winning the ‘Am’ category will be an LMP2 drive with Nissan in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with the season kicking off this weekend (16/17 April) at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

“It was getting so late in the day that I was beginning to worry I wouldn’t be racing this year, so to have put a deal together with Oregon is amazing,” said Hand.

“The Renault Sport Trophy had been my number one choice for 2016 ever since I first tested the R.S. 01. It’s an unbelievable car and although it takes a while to master with the sheer amount of power and grip available, once you do get the hang of that, it’s tremendously rewarding.

“One aspect that will be completely new to me is the endurance element. Clio races are flat-out blasts, whereas now I’ll need to adopt a slightly different technique with more of a focus on conserving the tyres and fuel and generally looking after the car, which will add another useful took to my toolkit.

“Oregon is the benchmark in the series so I’ve definitely landed on my feet in that respect. David was fast last year and has a lot of experience in the car, which I can draw upon to help accelerate my learning curve. I’m sure we’ll forge an effective partnership and I can’t wait to get going.”

An expected 28 driver entry for the opening rounds at Motorland includes fellow Brits Raoul Owens, Lewis Williamson and Tim Sudgen, the latter two sharing a Strakka Racing car, former Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion Kevin Korjus and ex-Renault F1 development driver Carmen Jorda.

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