Wisbech motor racing team Finesse Motorsport made a perfect start to the 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup season at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on Saturday.
Driver Paul Streather delivered a truly outstanding victory in round one of the campaign – only his third-ever race in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category.
Producing a remarkable drive, under immense pressure and with increasingly intense drizzle adding another variable into the mix during the second half of the 23-lap Safety Car affected contest, the 26-year-old starred to collect his first-ever race win in the blue riband Clio Cup.
In the live televised second round on Sunday, Streather added a competitive fourth place to his weekend’s tally to conclude the opening event of 2016 second in the driver standings. Against the might of the multi-car teams, meanwhile, Finesse is a superb fourth in the Entrants’ Trophy.
“I’m really, really happy,” reflected Streather. “To come here and win at the first event, carrying on from Brands at the end of last year where we came second, was tremendous. I think this has proved to a lot of people in the paddock we’re not here to mess around, we’re here to get on with the job.
“Finesse has done a brilliant job prepping the car and doing everything they could to make the car as quick as it is. To win on Saturday, seeing how close it was between the whole field in qualifying, is a great feeling. Finishing fourth in race two, well, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
After an impressively consistent day on Friday, during pre-event practice, where he was fourth and fifth respectively in the two sessions, Streather underlined his clear front-running ability in the opening qualifying session of the season on Saturday morning with a terrific performance. He bagged sixth on the grid for Sunday’s televised contest. For Finesse Motorsport, which is hoping to expand to a two-car entry sooner rather than later, team principal Neil Giddings says the squad has the pace to be a contender season-long.
“It’s unbelievable to win the first race of the season, we’re made up,” said Giddings.“We’ve the pace to be up the front, we’ve proved it. Hopefully we can keep this up for the rest of the season and be real contenders.”
Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire, Streather’s home track, will host rounds three and four of the Renault UK Clio Cup season two weeks from now on April 16/17.