Streather hoping for repeat 2016 performance
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, scene of Paul Streather’s maiden race victory in the Renault UK Clio Cup this time last year, hosts the opening two rounds of the 2017 championship this coming weekend, 1st/2nd April, where the WDE Motorsport driver intends to hit the ground running.
During the corresponding fixture last season at the popular Kent track, Streather’s first campaign in the high profile British Touring Car Championship support series, the Hinckley-based driver starred with a magnificent performance in his 2.0-litre Clio.
Scorching to a memorable win in round one of the 2016 season, having qualified second fastest for the race just 0.007 seconds shy of pole position, the Michael Smith Switchgear and AVW Fabrications backed racer then went on to only just miss out on another podium in round two.
While fully appreciative of the quality of opposition he will battle again this year, with a grid including three-time former champion, and WDE team-mate, Paul Rivett and 2014 champion Mike Bushell, Streather is confident he will be in a position to mount a strong challenge at Brands.
“I don’t see why I can’t try and repeat what we did at Brands this time last year” – he said – “I’m happy with the car and the team, the dynamic of the two together is absolutely brilliant, and I’m really looking forward to the season getting underway. I haven’t done a great deal of testing pre-season, but what I have done has been very positive and we’ve been quick. We’re still going into the unknown a little bit being with a new team for this season, but the guys at WDE have done a great job so far and I’m sure we’ll be strong at Brands.”
In addition to Streather’s switch to a new team, the other notable change for the 2017 season is the championship’s return to Michelin tyres after a few years on Dunlop rubber – a move which the series race winner applauds.
Qualifying, as ever at the 1.2-mile Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, will be key with such a short lap providing limited opportunities for overtaking – although Streather acknowledges pole position isn’t necessarily the chief aim.
“The Indy is one of my favourite circuits, both that and the GP track at Brands are at the top of the list, so I’m looking forward to driving there again” – he added – “We had a test day a couple of weeks ago there but I barely did any laps as I felt pretty bad. Media Day was the best I’d felt for a while, but then it came back – it comes and goes. I’m resting up before next weekend, hopefully I’ll be OK. Qualifying is going to be really important, it always is at Brands, but with 20 or so cars space can be a problem. If everyone uses some common sense, it should be fine though and we’ll all be able to get some good laps in. As long as we’re on the first two rows of the grid, I’ll be happy and confident we can challenge. To be honest, as pole is uphill sometimes the second row is the best place to be.”
Competitors will benefit from two test sessions at Brands Hatch on Friday, 31st March, with qualifying and round one of the Clio Cup season following on Saturday, 1st April, at 11.25 and 16.25 respectively. On Sunday, 2nd April, round two – which will be screened live on ITV4 and streamed online at www.itv.com/btcc – is scheduled to begin at 13.20.
(Paul Streather Motorsport Press Office)