Renault UK Clio Cup points leader Paul Rivett (Banstead) locked-out pole position for both of the weekend’s races at Oulton Park Island Circuit during an unbelievably competitive qualifying session at the Cheshire track this morning, Saturday, 8th June.
Posting his best lap times during the first half of the very warm and sunny 30-minute period, the Names.co.uk/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering driver produced a fastest of 1m36.022 seconds (83.45mph) to secure the round seven pole. His second quickest lap was an incredibly consistent time of 1m36.126 seconds.
Chief championship rival Josh Files (Norwich), who heads into this afternoon’s race just three points behind Rivett in the title chase, could only manage eighth on the grid for both encounters in his Team Pyro-run car.
“We had a bad one at Thruxton so this is maybe a role reversal with Josh [Files] being a bit further down the order in qualifying here”, said Rivett, “I’m sure he’ll race through from where he is, I may be starting on pole for both races but this is the Clio Cup – anything can happen. There aren’t any points for qualifying!
“It’ll be a tight dash to the first corner, hopefully I can lead through there and then see if I can hold it to the end of the lap and sort it out from there. Colin [Stancombe] isn’t here this weekend but, in all fairness to him, he has set-up the car and it’s all credit to him. It’s so close here this weekend, but it always is in these cars.”
Josh Cook (Bristol) will line-up alongside Rivett on the front row of the grid for today’s race, a superb lap of 1m36.045 seconds (83.43mph) getting the JHR Developments driver and Graduate Cup class runner to within just 0.023 seconds of pole position.
KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield), who is driving a new car this weekend after his monumental accident during the previous event at Thruxton, was a mere 0.001 seconds slower than Cook so will line-up third with Pyro’s Alex Morgan (Reading) fourth. Only 0.049 seconds covered the top four in, quite possibly, the tightest ever Clio Cup qualifying run at Oulton.
Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) will start from fifth in his KX Racing Clio with JHR’s Lee Pattison (Liversedge) sixth – the best of the Masters Cup drivers – and Friday pace-setter Jake Giddings (Wisbech) seventh for Finesse Motorsport. Behind eighth placed Files, Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford) will line-up ninth with James Colburn (Worthing) 10th for Westbourne Motorsport.
For round eight tomorrow, Sunday, 9th June, Morgan will start from the front row alongside Rivett with Cook and Hodgetts on row two, Pattison and Whorton-Eales on row three and Giddings and Files on the fourth row of the grid.
Round seven of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup season will get underway at 16.30 this afternoon with round eight, which will be screened live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and streamed at the www.itv.com/btcc website, following on Sunday at approximately 15.15.
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 Rd6):
1st Paul Rivett, 150pts; 2nd Josh Files, 147pts; 3rd Alex Morgan, 135pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd6):
1st Team Pyro, 282pts; 2nd Westbourne Motorsport, 220pts; 3rd Scuderia Vittoria, 181pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd6):
1st Josh Files, 170pts; 2nd James Colburn, 150pts; 3rd Jake Giddings, 125pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd6):
1st Simon Belcher, 148pts; 2nd Graham Field, 144pts; 3rd Finlay Crocker, 139pts