ALL THE SUPPORT SERIES
There’s plenty of talent in the support categories. Stephen Lickorish is your guide RENAULT UK CLIO CUP
This season marks 15 years since Paul Rivett made his Clio Cup debut. Since then he has taken three titles and racked up an unprecedented 44 wins. There’s no-one better qualified to assess who could challenge for the title this year.
Rivett is quick to pick out two key drivers he needs to beat if he wants to secure a fourth crown.
“Mike Bushell has had some touring car experience and with Pyro it’s a very good team-driver combination,” Rivett says. “Ant Whorton-eales will be back and he’s definitely a contender. I see them as my main rivals.”
Bushell had a difficult rookie season in the British Touring Car Championship last year and the 2014 Clio champion has taken the bold decision to step back, returning to Team Pyro. Meanwhile, WhortonEales led the points for the first half of last season but ended up finishing third and will now race for Jam Sport.
Rivett refuses to rule out any of the other 22 drivers taking part this year.
“There is always somebody who pops out of the woodwork and nobody was expecting, which is why I wouldn’t count anyone out of it,” he says. “We see the same each year – there’s always a driver who surprises.
“Senna Proctor has the capability of being that person. He’s really quick and has impressed in testing.”
Proctor is sure to be one to watch, having narrowly missed out on the Ginetta Junior title last year. He has now switched to Clios and will benefit from the same Pyro/team BMR alliance that guided Ashley Sutton to last year’s championship crown.
Rivett adds that his WDE Motorsport team-mates will also be worth keeping an eye on. “Charlie Ladell has really upped his game and fitness and will be one to watch,” he says. “Also Paul Plant has really impressed from the start.”
Other contenders are likely to be 2010 runner-up Lee Pattison (Cooksport) and former MG racer Paul Streather (Finesse) – who starred on his debut in the final round last year.
As for Rivett, there are a few milestones he’s looking to achieve in 2016, such as 50 wins and 100 podiums – he’s on 96 currently – but a fourth title is his main target.
His WDE boss Wayne Eason reckons Rivett will star this season.
“I think Paul’s going to be the one to beat,” he says. “Last year when we looked at who would be racing I said to him: ‘Ash Sutton is going to take some beating’. But this year if I were to have the same feeling about anyone it would be Paul. He’s going to be one of the favourites. He’s got a nearly new car and it’s down to him now.”