Thruxton: Series preview

TEAM MANAGER TAKES UP CHANCE OF ONE-OFF RACE STEVEN Hunter, Team Principal of reigning Ent rants' champion JHR Developments, is making a return to Clio Cup racing after two successful years on the other side of the pit wall. Hunter, who scored...

TEAM MANAGER TAKES UP CHANCE OF ONE-OFF RACE

STEVEN Hunter, Team Principal of reigning Ent rants' champion JHR Developments, is making a return to Clio Cup racing after two successful years on the other side of the pit wall.

Hunter, who scored a memorable first Clio Cup race win in 2006 at Thruxton, where he was presented with his trophy by 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill, replaces Mark Hazell in what is expected to be a oneoff outing.

With three consecutive MG Trophy titles to his name and a best Clio Cup finish of ninth overall, Hunter has proved he can mix with the best one-make drivers, although a lack of testing in the new Clio Cup car is keeping expectations in check.

Commenting on his late entry, Hunter said: "I've not been out in the new car at all so I'm not setting any targets. The chance to drive the car came up and I'm happy to fill in for Mark. All I want to do is go out and have some fun."

One of Hunter's rivals from the 2006 season who also took a break in 2007, Nick Adcock, returns to the #27 car. Meanwhi le, Team Wood Racing's Lea Wood, after a heavy crash at Rockingham, also makes a return.

A MINUTE WITH... MIKE ROBINSON

MIKE ROBINSON: "After the Clio Winter Cup I knew I was off the pace but I got some testing done in the off-season and it's paid off. I've not raced at Thruxton before but I'm aiming at top 10."

The last race event went well?

I've always liked Donington Park and targeted two top-five finishes. To get on the podium twice exceeded my expectation.

How's the season going?

I've been pleasantly surprised with how quickly I've got up to speed with the car. My past racing is in Caterhams and karting so I've never raced a front-wheel drive car. Winter testing really helped me a lot.

Why choose Clio Cup?

I did well in Caterhams and was looking to step up. The grid size and close racing, plus the place on the BTCC package, made it an ideal choice.

Motorsport is your day job?

I work for the organisers of the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, which had more than 300 trade exhibitors last year. Racing in Clio Cup helps raise the profile and give access to potential visitors.

- NO OFFICIAL testing takes place over the race weekend at Thruxton, but Team Pyro's Ben Winrow set the pace during an official Renault Sport UK test on 7th April. In damp conditions, Winrow ran just eight laps with a best time of 1min 25.012s (98.91mph). JHR's Paul Rivett was second ahead of Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall.

- HIGHLIGHTS of round two of the 2008 ELF Renault Clio Cup drew a combined audience of just under half a million for its initial showings on ITV4 and ITV1. The show, which is still available to view via the ITV website's 'Catch Up' facility, began with an interview with Gavin Pyper followed by action from Ben Winrow's race victory.

- DEREK Pierce's first podium finish of his Clio Cup career earned him the THB Clowes Driver of the Day award for round five at Donington Park, just pipping team-mate Robert Gaffney both on the track and for the 100 GBP prize from the motorsport insurance company. Mike Robinson picked up the round six award for his fine second place.

POLE CHASE: Ben Winrow can set a new Clio Cup pole position record at Thruxton this weekend. 2005 champion Jonathan Adam had seven successive poles, plus a run of six later the same year. Winrow currently stands on six. Each driver's fastest lap time sets the grid for the first race and the second-fastest lap time sets the grid for race two.

-credit: renaultsport.co.uk

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Series General
Drivers Damon Hill , Gavin Pyper , Paul Rivet , Jonathan Adam , Lea Wood , Alex MacDowall , Mark Hazell