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REMARKABLE DRIVES FROM BACK OF GRID NET STREATHER BRACE OF NINTH PLACES AND FASTEST LAP OF WEEKEND AFTER HUGE TESTING ACCIDENT

Finesse Motorsport driver Paul Streather produced a real headline performance at Silverstone over the weekend, 17th/18th September, after bouncing back from a monumental accident in Renault UK Clio Cup testing to post a brace of ninth place results from back-of-the-grid starts.

Serving up a true masterclass in overtaking during rounds 15 and 16, Streather’s performances were all the more impressive on two fronts. Not only did they come after the hefty impact in practice, in which his original race car was written-off, he managed to achieve such strong results – and also set the fastest race lap of the weekend – in a replacement Clio he had never previously driven.

Special mention must go to the 20Ten Racing squad, without whom Streather wouldn’t have been able to get onto the grid regardless of obtaining medical clearance after his shunt. Loaning Finesse one of its spare Clio Cup cars, 20Ten travelled back to its Derby base on Friday to bring the Clio down to Silverstone in time for qualifying on Saturday.

“It’s been a weekend we won’t forget in a hurry, that’s for sure!”, reflected Finesse team principal Neil Giddings, “Paul’s accident on Friday was massive, a really big hit and the car was an obvious write-off. Fortunately, he wasn’t badly injured and Simon [Hunt] and his boys at 20Ten were great loaning us their spare car and bringing it down from Derby.

“Our boys did a fantastic job to get the car prepped for qualifying and the races and Paul did an unbelievable job, to overtake so many cars and set fastest lap in race two was outstanding."

The severity of his testing accident, which actually snapped the car’s rollcage, left Streather with a lot of pain from his left ankle but after receiving the all-clear from the local hospital, he was free to take part in qualifying and the remainder of the race weekend in the replacement car.

Qualifying on Saturday morning took place on a drying track and Streather, still nursing his sore ankle, ended the session 19th fastest. Enjoying a superb first lap to round 15, Streather gained no fewer than seven positions to climb into 12th place.

Continuing his rise up the order on lap two, moving into 11th position, the Michael Smith Switchgear and AVW Fabrications-backed racer then set the fastest lap of the race at that point on the fourth tour.

With absolutely nothing to split the majority of the field, positions remained set past mid-distance but on lap 10 a midfield shake-up enabled Streather to climb into the top 10 just ahead of team-mate Jake Giddings.

Soon moving into ninth and then eighth on laps 12 and 13, Streather was edged back a place with just over three laps to go but the result marked a truly exceptional performance and a gain of 10 positions on his starting slot. He only just missed out on the fastest lap of the race by a mere seven hundredths of a second.

With it all to do again in the televised second race on Sunday, round 16, Streather lined-up at the back once more in 19th position. Starring once again, he carved his way through from 18th at the end of the first lap into 11th position by the end of lap three.

Streather then posted the fastest race lap of the weekend on the fifth tour, a time of 1m04.963 seconds, and after working his way into ninth place he held position to the chequered flag on lap 18 with nothing to split the pack of cars immediately ahead.

"To make 10 position gains in both races, and have the fastest lap of the weekend, it's unbelievable really after how everything started in testing", reflected Streather, "If we'd been able to qualify further up the grid, we'd have been up there near the front 100% in the races. 

"The accident in testing, it was a freak accident - I've never experienced anything like it. I changed down a gear into Copse on the first lap and the engine braking locked the front wheels on a puddle...then the car sped up and I went straight into the wall. It destroyed the car."

He added: "I thought with my ankle and the state of the car I wouldn't be racing, but 20Ten did a great job to help out with bringing their spare car to the track and then Finesse did a fantastic job to get the car on track and really well set-up. To go from four o'clock on Friday afternoon in hospital to this is unbelievable."

There are now only two weeks to wait for the final two rounds of the Renault UK Clio Cup season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in Kent, over the weekend 1st/2nd October.

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