24/07/2017

Bushell feeling confident about 2017 crown as title race prepares to resume

Mike Bushell believes this year’s Renault UK Clio Cup title will be his although, after a stunning run of eight pole positions in ten starts, admits to a fear of qualifying mid-grid.
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Ten rounds in to the 18-round calendar, Team Pyro star Bushell leads the championship by a staggering 69 points – a margin greater than two race wins.

With the championship soon to resume this coming weekend at Snetterton he commented: “I started 2017 telling myself one thing and one thing only – I have to win it this year after it was close last year.

“I told myself to focus on any weak points from 2016 and make myself better this year. The first half of the season I think I’ve done a pretty sterling job – I never expected to be more than a full weekend of points clear at this stage. At this rate I could even wrap it up at Silverstone’s penultimate rounds but that’s a bit of a pipe dream…”

While optimistic he can be Champion for a second time (he won the UK Clio Cup crown in 2014), Bushell says he needs to keep up his incredible qualifying form to be sure.

“The thought of starting mid-field terrifies me,” he admitted. “You might be with people who’ve not qualified well but they can still be extremely good racers and tough to get past.

“The most important thing for me is starting from the front – if I do that I’m out of trouble and even if I lose three places I’m still coming away with a good race result.”

Bushell says dominating in a race the same way he has in qualifying is harder – while he has eight poles so far in 2017 his ‘only’ has six wins out of ten races.

“Qualifying has always been a strong point,” he explained. “Look at 2016 (12 poles from 18 starts) and this year again. Even in my debut meeting with Westbourne Motorsport in 2013 had a pole. The year I won the title I had more poles than anyone else.

“I just seem have a feel with the tyres, a knack. But it’s more difficult to maintain that in a race as I feel like I could be off into the barriers.

“On saying that I feel last time out at Croft I made a bit of a breakthrough in that respect – in the wet in race one I made a mistake and dropped back to third but immediately told myself I was still going to win it. That led to me pulling two great moves to get the lead back and it’ll go down as one of my best wins.”