07/04/2016

Bushell fastest from Pattison in Renault UK Clio Cup’s official Thruxton test

Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell comfortably set the pace in today’s official Renault UK Clio Cup test at the fastest circuit on the calendar, Thruxton, although Team Cooksport’s championship leader Lee Pattison emerged on top in the afternoon on a damp but drying track…
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All bar one of the 20 drivers who appeared at the high-speed Hampshire circuit set their best time of the day in the morning’s fully dry session, with Bushell the only man to get beneath the one minute and 24 seconds mark with a best lap of 1m23.699s.

Pattison, always strong at Thruxton, was next up, albeit 0.633s adrift and followed by two more Pyro drivers, David Dickenson and Senna Proctor. JamSport’s Ant Whorton-Eales was fifth ahead of WDE’s Paul Rivett and Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne. Completing the top ten were Ciceley pair Max Coates and Dan Zelos and PP Motorsport’s Anton Spires.

Notably Bushell set a second time which would have again put him fastest by some margin and only Pattison and Dickenson were able to get within a second of him around Thruxton’s daunting 2.6 miles. Consider then that less than a second covered fourth-placed Proctor down to Finesse’s Jake Giddings in 13th…

The afternoon’s running looked set to be blighted by midday ibut a strong cross wind and bursts of sunlight meant by the final 15 minutes drivers were opting to switch to slick tyres as a drying line emerged.

Ultimately Pattison timed his tyre change and final run to perfection to end the session on top with a best lap of 1m26.094s. JamSport’s Luke Kidsley was second fastest with 1m26.406s – the only driver to improve over his morning’s best as he came on strong in the final five minutes.

Cooksport was further buoyed by Collingbourne in third ahead of Giddings and Bushell, the latter choosing to sit out the final ten minutes having only used Dunlop’s treaded wet weather tyre. Whorton-Eales was the only driver to sit out the session.

Former Champion Bushell, fourth in the points standings after Brands Hatch’s opening two rounds, commented: “I’m very pleased with that and with my consistency – I was on top too in the second session when everyone was on wets so it bodes well. If it’s dry when we race here in May then maybe the times will be faster as we’ve had quite a strong head wind to deal with today.”

Pattison said: “I’m quite happy with that. We were a bit down in session one whereas session two was all about who put slicks on near the end. Church Corner was probably flat if you felt really brave – I took it in sixth gear but admit I needed a lift.”

CLICK HERE for full times and speed trap and sector analysis from Thruxton’s test.