The AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup championship leader Jack Goff looks set to defend his title lead after taking double pole for roundsnine and ten at a gloriously sunny Snetterton 300 circuit.
After a long nine week break, the Team Pyro driver certainly hasn’t lost any pace as he set competitive times throughout the 30-minute session to secure the top spot for both races, with title rival Paul Rivettsitting close behind on the front row for each of the weekend’s races.
‘We’ve been quick all testing so it’s a solid start to the weekend. I can’t seem to lose Paul (Rivett); he’s always there. I’ve got to get off the line well and keep my head down and try to break away from the pack as quick as I can. There are a lot of long straights here and they prove to bevery effective,’ said pole-sitter Goff.
The car has been great from the first session, Team Pyro always give me a good car and fingers crossed I can stay top of the championship after this weekend.’
Occupying the second spot on the front row and in the championship table, Rivett (Banstead) looks strong to close the gap on Goff (High Wycombe) and is hopeful of taking to the top steps of the podium.
‘Quite happy with that,’ said Rivett. ‘Front row is always good in qualifying so I’m really happy. The PER HIRE car has been absolutely great, Stancombe Vehicle Engineering have done a great job again on the car as they always do. To be sitting on the front row is great and it looks set to be anybody’s race off the start.
‘I made a little mistake on my fastest lap making a mistake on my downshift, but front row is still good enough.’
Local driver Josh Files (Norfolk), who is sporting a new blue and yellow Marie Curie Cancer Care livery this weekend, had a tough session and sits seventh on the grid for this afternoons race.
‘It was probably one of the most frustrating sessions of my life. I felt as though I was seriously quick and at one point we had pole,’ commented Files.
‘I went quickest in the first and second sectors, but on the last corner I had a certain moving roadblock in my way. From where I start on the grid I can only hope and try for a spot on the podium, a win would be brilliant, but will be very hard to do, but then you never know.’
Having set competitive times all session and coming out as fastest Rookie, Westbourne Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) was just 0.222secs off Goff’s fastest lap and sits fifth on the grid.
‘It worked quite well that session,’ said Whorton-Eales. ‘I worked well together with James (Colburn) and we managed to get good times in. We got the fast times in quite soon, but then obviously everybody caught up to us in the session and dropped us down to fifth.’
‘My aim for this weekend is to try and get up the grid as far as I can. The car’s feeling really good, Westbourne have done a really good job and it’s been a good weekend so far.’
Today’s qualifying also saw new entry David Grady (Leicester) take to the track in a Clio for the first time ever. Having been called late last night with the opportunity, he jumped at the chance and sits 17th for round 9 for his Renault Clio debut.
‘It was good, a bit of a shock,’ exclaimed Grady. ‘I was thrown in at the deep-end as I’ve never tried one of these Clio Cup cars so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’ve got no pressure for this weekend.’
‘It was a late deal, I got the call from Andy (Wilmot) late last night as he was due to drive the car, but for some reason can’t, and asked me if I was up for the challenge and gave me some time to think about it, which didn’t take very long as it’s been a dream of mine to race in the Clio’s. I haven’t had the money in the past so I’m really pleased to be here this weekend.’
‘The car is very different from what I’ve been racing previously, but I’m getting the hang of it quickly. My aims this weekend are to finish and mix it in with the mid-field and try to pick up as many places as I can.’
Elsewhere, it was ELF Masters Trophy championship leader Simon Belcher in the KÄRCHER livery who sits 19th on the grid and has set his sights set on bringing the car home in one piece after the long break.
‘Being the fastest Master is a surprise. The second set of tyres were definitely quickest and I was blocked on my first flying lap and I was really annoyed,from then I had the red mist and on the next lap I overcooked it clipping the rear armco.’
‘I’m disappointed with 19th but still happy with fastest Master so that’s a positive I can take away from it. I will try and stay out of trouble as I’m far back with some of the more lively drivers as far as damage goes, but keep it clean and bring it home is the main thing.’
The first AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup race of Norfolk’s Snetterton 300 starts today at 16.00, with the second race at 13.45, tomorrow 12th August.
Clio Cup action will feature in the live ITV broadcast, which will air on ITV4 and ITV4 HD from Sunday morning throughout the day and will also be available on www.itv.com
Qualifying - Round 9 - Classification
1. Jack GOFF Team Pyro 2:08.720
2. Paul RIVETT PER HIRE/SVE 2:08.775
3. James DIXON Total Control Racing 2:08.846
4. Adam BONHAM Team Pyro 2:08.870
5. Ant WHORTON-EALES Westbourne Motorsport 2:08.942
6. Stefan HODGETTS Scuderia Vittoria 2:08.965
7. Josh FILES Team Pyro 2:08.971
8. Aaron WILLIAMSON Finesse Motorsport Ltd 2:08.980
9. Josh COOK 20Ten Racing 2:09.063
10. Mike BUSHELL MBR 2:09.071
11. James COLBURN Westbourne Motorsport 2:09.202
12. Jake GIDDINGS Finesse Motorsport Ltd 2:09.527
13. Rob SMITH Total Control Racing 2:10.201
14. Vic COVEY Scuderia Vittoria 2:10.225
15. Nic HAMILTON Total Control Racing 2:10.256
16. William DAVISON Westbourne Motorsport 2:10.545
17. David GRADY Team HARD 2:10.597
18. Ignas GELZINIS Juta Racing 2:10.655
19. Simon BELCHER Handy Motorsport with Pyro 2:10.786
20. Darren WILSON 20Ten Racing 2:10.960
21. Finlay CROCKER Scuderia Vittoria 2:11.111
22. Mark TILBURY Silver Fox Racing 2:11.788
23. Ronnie KLOS Scuderia Vittoria 2:12.051
24. Tautvydas BARSTYS Juta Racing 2:12.123