Bushell in league of his own in Snetterton Renault UK Clio Cup testing

Mike Bushell set a blistering pace to dominate official Renault UK Clio Cup testing at Snetterton – ending the day almost half a second clear of anyone else.
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Team Pyro’s Bushell set the pace in the first of two sessions held around midday. But it was the late afternoon second session – held in cooler conditions – that proved to be even quicker.

The 2014 Champion effectively spent most of that session at the top of the timesheets thanks to an early succession of laps in the mid-to-low two minutes and seven seconds bracket.

Then, when the others started to get close, he pushed again and went even faster – his best of 2m06.936s a considerable 0.456s up on Pyro team-mate David Dickenson in second.

It was also underneath his pole position record time of 2m07.159s set in 2014. Furthermore he was the only driver to break the 2m07s barrier.

“I can’t complain with that,” grinned Bushell, currently second to Ant Whorton-Eales in the drivers’ championship. “The pace has been there all day and we’ve been consistently able to pop in the times. I’m not getting carried away but we seem to be in good shape for qualifying tomorrow.”

Dickenson’s pace followed on from the fine form he showed last time at Croft. His best time of 2m07.392s was just enough to pip WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett to second fastest overall. JamSport’s Whorton-Eales was close behind in fourth as Josh Price and Senna Proctor completed a strong day for Pyro with the fifth and sixth fastest times.

Chris Smiley, making his debut with JamSport after leaving the British Touring Car Championship, was a fine seventh fastest outright – later claiming he lost half a second on his best lap because of an error. Notably JamSport’s other driver Luke Kidsley was forced to miss the second session after damaging his car with a roll earlier in the day.

Meanwhile Anton Spires, in the single-car PP Motorsport team, impressed in eighth as Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates and Cooksport’s Lee Pattison completed the top ten.

As per usual, Croft winner Coates did not run new Dunlop tyres in testing and believed his true pace was therefore being masked. Pattison felt there was considerable pouring over data to be done with his Cooksport engineers to find extra time ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Among Pattison’s Cooksport team-mates this weekend is another newcomer, Shayne Deegan, who wound up 19th overall after spending his day learning about the UK Clio Cup’s left-hand-drive cockpit and six-speed, steering wheel-mounted paddle gearshift system.

CLICK HERE for the full times from today’s two sessions.

Notably, the gap from Dickenson down to 13th (WDE’s Charlie Ladell) was less than a second – remarkable given the length of the Snetterton 300 circuit’s configuration (by far the longest lap of the season) and an indication of just how closely-fought Saturday’s qualifying session could be…

Qualifying tomorrow, which will decide the starting grids for both Snetterton’s UK Clio Cup rounds, takes place at 11.25am-11.55am. Sunday’s races, both ten laps in distance, are at 9.55am and 4.10pm.