Whorton-Eales’s SV Racing car lapped the circuit in one minute, 28. Seconds – some 1.4s faster than the existing race lap record set in 2008 by champion that year Ben Winrow. The time was also 1.1s beneath the Clio Cup’s existing Rockingham qualifying lap record set by Jack Goff on his way to the crown in 2012.
However he was only just ahead of closest rivals Ash Hand and Ashley Sutton – both driving cars prepared by the crack Team Pyro squad, the latter in conjunction with British Touring Car outfit BMR. SVR’s latest signing, 2014 Ginetta Junior champion Jack Mitchell was an impressive fourth.
Whorton-Eales said: “The new compound that Dunlop has produced is dynamite. Its performance eventually tails off like any tyre and does it very nicely and consistently but the first few laps out of the blocks on the tyre are sensational. It would be nice if we can work to keep that level of performance up a bit more from the car before the performance tails off…
“I’m very happy to be fastest in what is the only officially-timed session before the season – particularly because I’ve barely done any testing at all during the winter break. It’s nice to lay down a bit of a marker but the others aren’t far away and I’m not getting carried away – the Clio Cup is so competitive and there are lots of drivers who can suddenly be at your pace.”
2014 title contender Jordan Stilp (20Ten Racing) was fifth fastest ahead of three-time champion Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport). JamSport team-mates Dan Holland and Thomas Grundy were next up ahead of Team Cooksport’s Charles Ladell and WDE’s Rory Green. Freddie Hunt (Team BKR) and Rory Collingbourne (Cooksport) followed.
There is now just over a week until the Clio Cup’s opening two races of the new 2015 season at Brands Hatch, Kent on Easter weekend Sat 4th/Sun 5th April.