03/08/2016

Podium statistic among one of many fascinating facts to come out of Snetterton UK Clio Cup action

The Renault UK Clio Cup’s propensity for spewing out yet more mind-boggling statistics in 2016 continued in Sunday’s two rounds at Snetterton when yet more records tumbled and ‘personal bests’ were set.
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Firstly a look at the two race podiums… Race 1: Mike Bushell, Max Coates and Senna Proctor; Race 2: Ant Whorton-Eales, Luke Kidsley and Paul Rivett.

That’s six podium positions filled by six different drivers all in one race event. The last time that happened was way back in 2013, during the final two rounds around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (James Colburn, Alex Morgan and Stefan Hodgetts followed by Josh Cook, Mike Bushell and Whorton-Eales).

Back to Snetterton 2016 and Luke Kidsley and the JamSport team both turned in star performances.

Kidsley’s previous best qualifying and race results had been fifth and fourth respectively. At Snetterton he improved on those significantly with second in qualifying for both grids and then a second-place finish (in race two) having also led a UK Clio Cup race for the first time.

It was a performance that helped JamSport to achieve its first 1-2 finish in the UK Clio Cup (it is the only team so far to carry this off in 2016) and also elevated it to second in the Entrants’ championship standings. Consider, too, that in the same race Ant Whorton-Eales delivered JamSport (and himself) a sixth win of the season – coming into the season the outfit’s best result had been the fourth that Kidsley took in last year’s final round at Brands Hatch. It’s been a remarkable year for the Northants squad with six races still to go of course…

The result however was not enough to prevent Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell taking over from Whorton-Eales at the top of the championship. The damage really was done in race one when Whorton-Eales retired and Bushell won for the second time this year.

A change to the leaderboard was one talking point; the other Bushell’s total domination of qualifying. The 2014 Champion rocketed to P1 on the starting grid for both Snetterton races with his sixth and seventh pole positions of the season and all inside eight races (two at Thruxton, two at Oulton Park, race two at Croft and his Snetterton pair)!

Furthermore both his pole laps were a half a second or more inside his own qualifying record around Snetterton, set in 2014 – the new benchmark now standing at two minutes, 06.570 seconds.

The race record would fall, too, but not to Bushell. Instead Max Coates set a new record in race one (2m07.503s) only for it to be beaten just several hours later by Paul Rivett who lowered the mark to 2m07.486s in race two.

Dan Zelos figures in our Snetterton stats story thanks to his seventh-place finish in race one – and with it 16 points to more than double his overall score (note, his previous best finish in a luckless debut season had been a 17th).

His team-mate Ollie Pidgley also recorded his best qualifying performance to date with P10 on the grid for race one.

Chris Smiley and Shayne Deegan made their UK Clio Cup debuts at Snetterton with the JamSport and Cooksport teams respectively, meaning both established personal bests. These were: Smiley P4 qualifying/P7 race; Deegan P15 for both.