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On the eve of the season opener at Brands Hatch this weekend, Ash Hand has announced a dramatic late return to the Renault UK Clio Cup.

Hand will link up with the Team Pyro squad with whom he almost won the 2015 title, having missed out on the crown in the final rounds of the season to Ashley Sutton.

It was Hand who had led the points heading into the finale, with an impressive campaign having yielded an unrivalled seven race victories.

Hand returns to the grid with backing from R-Tech Welding, joining 2014 champion Mike Bushell, Jack McCarthy and Ollie Pidgley at Pyro.

“I see no reason why I can’t turn up at Brands this weekend and do some winning. I’ve been training on the iZone simulator and am just as sharp as I was in 2015,” said Hand.

“Sure there’s the new Michelin tyre to get used to but by the time we finish the two official test sessions on Friday I expect to be getting on with the car just as well as I always did.

“In my mind I should have been Champion in 2015 – that’s history now but make no mistake; I am coming back to win the title. I know what needs doing.”

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