Ashley Sutton (Bishops Stortford) is the new Renault UK Clio Cup Champion after he took victory in both the season’s final two rounds at Brands Hatch this weekend (Sat 10/Sun 11 Oct) and team-mate Ash Hand’s (Nuneaton) bid for the title faded.
BMR Restart-backed Sutton led every lap to win Saturday’s race but second place for fellow Team Pyro racer Hand was enough to keep him in the championship lead overnight. In the same race Maximum Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) and WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Epsom) saw their title hopes disappear as both retired, while Jon Maybin (Chinnor) took a fine third for his and the Team Cooksport squad’s maiden UK Clio Cup podium result.
So to Sunday’s final round and, with ITV4’s live cameras trained on the action, Hand, seven times a winner in 2015, needed only to finish inside the top three to secure the title… Initially it looked like he was on course but then he seemed to struggle for pace and gradually he was demoted to seventh position.
Up front, Sutton took the victory but only after being put under intense pressure from Paul Streather (Hinckley) who ended his debut UK Clio Cup weekend with a sensational second for the returning Finesse Motorsport team. WDE Motorsport’s Dan Holland (Dagenham) finished right behind in third.
It all meant that Sutton had turned around the deficit to Hand to become the 2015 Champion by five points when the all-important ‘two-dropped-scores’ rule was taken into account. Sutton becomes the first driver to win the Renault UK Clio Cup crown in their first season since 2003. In addition to lifting the Champion’s trophy Sutton was presented with the Barrie Williams Trophy by the former British Renaultsport great – engraved with the names of every other UK Clio Cup title-winner, this will now go on special display at Renault UK’s headquarters.
Sutton commented: “What a way to win such a prestigious title as the Renault UK Clio Cup. The battle with Streather was fantastic – I’m sure it looked very exciting on ITV! And I also had to try and keep an eye on where Ash was. I knew if I won and he was outside the top four then it was mine but not until we got across the line and I saw the other three behind me and saw that he wasn’t there did I start to celebrate in the car.
“It’s just the most fantastic championship – you can see why so many drivers to have come from the UK Clio Cup have gone on to great things – and right now I would love to come back and defend my title in 2016 and see if I can improve my results from this season.”
Sutton has also won the Graduates Cup and Pyro’s Mark Howard the Masters Cup class for older drivers, with Pyro lifting the Entrants Trophy.