Qualifying for the second race meeting of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup season at Donington Park this afternoon, Saturday, 19th April, delivered two new faces to the head of the grid with Josh Cook (Bath) and Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) taking a pole position apiece.
Cook, driving for SV Racing with KX, topped the timesheets overall with a quickest lap of 1m17.358 seconds (92.09mph) to just see off team-mate and fellow KX Akademy racer Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) who was a career-best second fastest – only 0.072 seconds shy of Cook.
Stilp, meanwhile, missed out on the round three pole by a mere 0.092 seconds to claim third on the grid for round three but the 20Ten Racing driver’s second best lap of 1m17.495 seconds earned him a well-deserved pole start for round four – easily his best qualifying performance to date.
“It was quite a weird session”, reported Cook who also bagged the Graduate Cup class pole, “The tow is worth quite a lot around Donington, I worked with Ash [Hand] and on one lap he would have had pole but he ran wide. I’m happy with the SV with KX car, the set-up is real nice here. We’ll see how we get on in the first race tomorrow.”
Round four pole position qualifier Stilp added: “It was a brilliant session, we just had to try and change a few things from Brands Hatch. We tested earlier in the week which gave us a much bigger step forward before the weekend. I had to go round on my own, if I was lucky I’d get a little bit of a tow off a couple of the others. It’s always close in Clio Cup, it should be an exciting day tomorrow.”
Behind the top three of Cook, Whorton-Eales and Stilp on the round three grid, Hand will start the first of Sunday’s races from fourth place – only 0.058 seconds shy of Stilp’s best time with another fantastic performance in his SV Racing Clio – while Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell will line-up fifth. The pace-setter from Thursday’s officially timed test was 0.167 seconds shy of pole position.
Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) rounded out the lead six qualifiers, just ahead of championship leader Alex Morgan (Reading) who has been fighting an uphill battle this weekend since encountering car problems during pre-event testing.
Paul Rivett (Banstead) was eighth fastest for WDE Motorsport, securing the Masters Cup class pole position, ahead of Pyro’s Rob Smith (Telford). Lee Pattison (Scholes) completed the top 10 for JHR Developments within 0.5 seconds of the top of the grid.
For round four, Stilp will line-up on the outright and Graduate Cup class poles ahead of Bushell, Hand, Cook, Whorton-Eales and Morgan. Rivett and Pattison will share the fourth row of the grid ahead of Colburn and Smith.
Round three of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup will get underway at 10.05 tomorrow, Easter Sunday, 20th April, with round four – which will be screened live across the UK on ITV4 and ITV4 HD – following at 15.45. As well as the live television coverage, the second Clio Cup encounter will also be streamed live at www.itv.com/btcc
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd2):
1st Alex Morgan, 64pts; 2nd Mike Bushell, 49pts; 3rd Rob Smith, 48pts
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd2):
1st Rob Smith, 60pts; =2nd Ant Whorton-Eales/Josh Cook/James Colburn, 50pts
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd2):
=1st Paul Rivett/Lee Pattison, 60pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 50pts
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd2):
1st SV Racing, 111pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 95pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 66pts