Championship leader Colburn quickest in official Thruxton test

Renault UK Clio Cup points leader James Colburn (Worthing) continued his tremendous start to the season during official testing at Thruxton in Hampshire today, Tuesday, 9th April, by edging out Josh Files (Norwich) and Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) to head the combined timesheets.

On a day when rain limited the amount of dry running available, the morning session – which dried out sufficiently for slick Dunlop tyres to be used during the second half – was the fastest of the two with Westbourne Motorsport’s Colburn posting a best of 1m25.410 seconds (99.28mph).

Shading Team Pyro’s Files by a mere 0.026 seconds, with Hodgetts only an additional 0.048 seconds back in third for KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria, Colburn was also in the top three in the afternoon to cap an impressive day’s work. Session two was led by Files with a lap of 1m25.543s (99.13mph).

“When we first went out this morning it was half wet, half dry really – the circuit was drying but not enough for slicks”, said championship leader Colburn, “When we put the slicks on, though, it went well and we ended up with the fastest time overall for the day. I’m really happy with that.”

Fourth quickest on overall times was round two winner Alex Morgan (Reading), the saloon-car convert proving his sparkling performance for Team Pyro during the opening event of the season just over a week ago at Brands Hatch was no fluke.

He produced a best time of 1m25.644 seconds (99.01mph) in the afternoon session, only 0.2 seconds shy of Colburn’s outright pace, with Westbourne’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) fifth and car racing newcomer Devon Modell (Maidstone) starring in sixth for Scuderia Vittoria.

Another of the Clio Cup rookies, Pyro’s Spain-domiciled Brit James Nutbrown, was seventh fastest overall ahead of KX Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford) and the leading Masters Cup contender Ronnie Klos (Market Harborough).

Unfortunately, delays in the preceding outing for one of the other Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support categories resulted in the second Clio Cup session getting underway later than originally scheduled – meaning the majority of the run was affected by the return of rain.

Most of the front-runners only chose to complete a handful of laps, mindful, of course, of not risking any potential damage with the next two rounds of the season at Donington Park only a week and a half away. One of those limiting their running today was PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Paul Rivett (Banstead), the multiple champion simply electing to ‘scrub-in’ some wet-weather tyres.

Rounds three and four of the Renault UK Clio Cup will take place at Donington Park’s National Circuit on 20th/21st April. The championship’s annual visit to Thruxton will then follow a fortnight later, over the weekend 4th/5th May.

Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.