New qualifying record & double pole position at Snetterton for Mike Bushell

Mike Bushell dominated today’s Renault UK Clio Cup qualifying session at Snetterton with a record lap time to take pole position for both of Sunday’s races at the Norfolk circuit, while Luke Kidsley bounced back from a roll in testing to take a pair of best-ever seconds on the grid.
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Team Pyro racer Bushell set the pace with a best lap of two minutes, 06.570 seconds to guarantee pole on the race one grid – decided by a driver’s fastest qualifying time. That annihilated the previous record of 2m07.159s that he set in 2014.

On second best times, which decide race two’s starting grid, the 2014 Champion was only fractionally slower with a lap in 2m06.670s – more than a second clear of the rest.

On each occasion ‘the rest’ were headed by JamSport’s Kidsley for whom second on the grid marked by far his best qualifying performance to date. It was a remarkable result considering his car had needed considerable repairs following a roll in Friday’s free practice sessions…

Completing the top six for race one’s grid were Team BMR with Pyro’s Senna Proctor, JamSport’s championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales, WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett and, making his debut with JamSport, Chris Smiley. Whorton-Eales had actually set the second fastest time of all behind Bushell – the man chasing him at the top of the table – but a two-place grid penalty, earned in the previous rounds at Croft, meant he was relegated to fourth in the starting order…

Smiley meanwhile went even better on second best times for race two’s grid, qualifying fourth behind Bushell, Kidsley and Ciceley Motorsport’s Max Coates. Rivett and Whorton-Eales were fifth and sixth.

Bushell has now qualified on pole position for seven races out of eight. He commented: “Fastest in both test sessions yesterday; fastest by a second today. It’s all going perfectly and we need to take points out of Ant tomorrow for the championship but I’m well aware that qualifying is very different to a race scenario. It will be very important to make the most of both poles tomorrow as I expect him to come through.”

Kidsley said: “I’m delighted with that for obvious reasons. Maybe after the accident yesterday I relaxed a bit and stopped over-thinking things which has had an effect but also it rewards the terrific job the JamSport team put in to patching up the car – it might not look the prettiest but it feels good as new. They’ve also got all three cars inside the top six on both grids which is a major effort.”

Elsewhere ninth and then seventh on the two grids were excellent results for Anton Spires, driving for the small single-car PP Motorsport squad. Ninth and tenth on the grid (for race two) were the best Finesse’s Paul Streather and Cooksport’s Lee Pattison could manage – race-winners both this season, they go into tomorrow’s races sixth and fifth in the points table behind Whorton-Eales, Bushell, Rivett and Coates.

There was a first top-ten qualifying performance from Ciceley's Ollie Pidgley – tenth for race one. Fifteenth on race one’s grid – less than a second behind Kidsley in second – was also an encouraging result for Shayne Deegan on his debut with Cooksport.

Tomorrow’s two races – rounds 11 and 12 of the 18-round UK Clio Cup season – take place at 9.55am and 4.10pm. Both are ten laps in distance and as ever take place alongside the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship meaning a bumper trackside crowd as well as live coverage on ITV4.

CLICK HERE for full qualifying times for both grids.