Colburn secures double pole for Brands Hatch GP finale

Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) claimed pole position for the final two races of the Renault UK Clio Cup season during a drying qualifying session at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit this morning, Saturday, 12th October.

Originally Team Pyro’s Alex Morgan (Reading) had secured the pole slot for the second encounter but, following an in-depth review of lap times set during the closing minutes, the Welsh driver and nine fellow competitors had their quickest times expunged for yellow flag infringements.

Therefore, Colburn inherited the round 16 pole position alongside the round 15 pole he bagged with a best time of 1m41.102 seconds (86.64mph) – 0.2 seconds faster than champion-elect Josh Files (Norwich). Colburn’s second fastest lap time of 1m41.457 seconds earned him the race two pole, and also a double Graduate Cup class pole, by just 0.023 seconds from Files.

“We had a disappointing mid-season really so to be at the front today is fantastic”, said the double pole-sitter, “We’ve shown we can attack from the back and come through to good results, now hopefully we can attack from the front. I’ve always loved Brands Hatch, it’s one of my favourite circuits with all the undulations – it really is fantastic. I love the speed of this place, it’s great fun.”

Files, who should be able to seal the championship crown in round 15 later this afternoon, edged Morgan for second place on the race one grid by only 0.039 seconds with JHR Developments’ Josh Cook (Bristol) fourth fastest, a mere 0.015 seconds further adrift, ahead of KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) and MBR’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells).

Juta Racing’s Lithuanian driver Ignas Gelzinis qualified seventh for race one ahead of Pyro’s Ash Hand (Nuneaton), Finesse Motorsport’s Jake Giddings (Wisbech) and KX Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield). The Masters Cup pole went to JHR’s Lee Pattison (Liversedge) who was 11th overall.

Behind Colburn and Files on the round 16 grid will be Hodgetts, Morgan, Cook, Bushell, Hand, Gelzinis, Whorton-Eales and Giddings on the first five rows. Pattison will, once again, start from the Masters Cup pole position.

Files, of course, took to the track today with a significantly repaired Clio Cup car after the damage sustained in testing on Friday, where his car was collected by that of team-mate Hand when both went off under braking in the wet at Druids. The Pyro mechanics worked until two o’clock this morning to repair the cars in time for qualifying.

Championship returnee Martin Byford (Colchester) had a frustrating session in the Names.co.uk / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering car. The 2007 champion, who is replacing the injured Paul Rivett (Banstead) this weekend, will begin both races from the last row of the grid following an unfortunate excursion at Stirlings halfway through the qualifying session.

Round 15 is scheduled to commence at 16.30 this afternoon with the final race of the season following on Sunday, 13th October, at 13.30 – live coverage of round 16 will be screened on ITV4, ITV4 HD and online at www.itv.com/btcc

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

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd14 inc. drop score):
1st Josh Files, 342pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 304pts; 3rd Alex Morgan, 280pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd14):
1st Team Pyro, 650pts; 2nd Scuderia Vittoria, 549pts; 3rd JHR Developments, 447pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd14 inc. drop score):
1st Josh Files, 377pts; 2nd James Colburn, 320pts; 3rd Josh Cook, 295pts

Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd14 inc. drop score):
1st Simon Belcher, 329pts; 2nd Lee Pattison, 313pts; 3rd Graham Field, 303pts