Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) delivered a dominant performance during officially timed Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup testing at Snetterton 300 Circuit today, Friday, 1st August – the VitalRacing with Team Pyro driver lapping a full 0.4 seconds faster than his closest rival.
Following a lean weekend last time out at Croft, Bushell – back with his original engine following repairs to the turbo-charged powerplant after the Oulton Park weekend – posted his best time of the day in session one this morning with a stunning lap of 2m07.759 seconds (83.65mph).
Placing the Thruxton race winner half a second clear at the end of session one, his tremendous time couldn’t be bettered in the afternoon. Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) and championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) each improved their pace in session two, and the SV Racing with KX team-mates were incredibly evenly matched, but still ended up 0.4 seconds adrift of Bushell.
“We’ve got our original engine back now – at Oulton we had a problem so Croft ended up being a testing weekend really”, said Bushell, “Everything feels good, the first session was obviously fantastic and in the second session we didn’t run any new tyres. Conditions were the same in both sessions, it was a good, consistent day and the track was pretty much identical throughout.
“We just need to keep in check with the front guys in the championship and gain a bit of ground if we can this weekend. It’d be nice to do this again tomorrow and fight for the win, but if I can finish third and be ahead of [James] Colburn and [Josh] Cook that will suit me and I’ll be happy.”
Whorton-Eales’ session two topping best of 2m08.201 seconds (83.36mph) was a mere 0.005 seconds quicker than Cook’s fastest lap while 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury), double race winner at Croft, ended the day fourth overall only 0.059 seconds shy of third.
Ash Hand (Nuneaton) was one of just four drivers not to improve in the afternoon, his morning best of 2m08.403 seconds (83.23mph) placing him fifth fastest on combined times roughly 0.1 seconds clear of team-mate Alex Morgan (Reading).
Unsurprisingly competitive, little more than 0.3 seconds covered second placed Whorton-Eales down to ninth spot – Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing), WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Banstead) and Pyro’s Lee Pattison (Scholes) finishing seventh, eighth and ninth overall.
Championship newcomer Paul Knapp (Farningham), making his Renault UK Clio Cup debut this weekend at Snetterton with the JamSport team, ended his first ever official test session in a Clio Cup car 14th fastest but within just 0.055 seconds of 20Ten Racing regular Craig Milner (Matlock).
Qualifying for rounds 11 and 12 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup season will take place at 11.20 tomorrow, Saturday, 2nd August, with the first 10-lap race of the weekend following at 16.40. On Sunday, 3rd August, round 12 will get underway at 11.10 with ‘as-live’ coverage set to be screened during the afternoon television broadcast on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Cook, 237pts; 2nd James Colburn, 222pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 207pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd10):
1st James Colburn, 258pts; 2nd Josh Cook, 253pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 244pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd10):
1st Lee Pattison, 300pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 263pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 200pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd10):
1st SV Racing with KX, 524pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 381pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 350pts