Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) headed the timesheets during officially timed Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup pre-season testing at Rockingham this afternoon, Wednesday, 19th March, as the countdown to the start of the eagerly anticipated 2014 season gathers pace.
The 24-year-old Clio Cup regular was at the sharp end throughout the day’s running, leading the way in sessions one and three, and ultimately concluded the ‘Media Day’ outing at the Northamptonshire track with a fastest time of 1m30.217 seconds (77.41mph) at the wheel of his turbo-powered, fourth generation racing Clio.
“I'm really pleased with how today's gone, we worked through trying different things with the car and a lot of guys used new tyres which we didn’t and we were still fastest”, said Bushell, "We've been sound with the car so far, no troubles with anything, so that's really positive.
“Going by today, everything is looking good for Brands, but you can't really judge anything on testing and you have to accept the challenge of a race weekend as it comes. We've got a good base to start from, so just need to build from there. The desire is to win, that's what we'll be trying to do.”
Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing), who is entering his sixth season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feeder series this year, was second quickest 0.3 seconds shy of former team-mate Bushell.
Colburn’s best time, a lap of 1m30.577 seconds (77.10mph), came during session two and was good enough to place him 0.1 seconds ahead of three-time champion Paul Rivett (Banstead) on combined times. The West Sussex driver was rapid throughout, finishing inside the top two in all three runs and heading the Graduate Cup class.
Rivett, who this week confirmed his return to the Clio Cup as both a racer and team manager with newcomer squad WDE Motorsport, experienced his first run in the new Clio having only collected his car yesterday. Now also eligible for the Masters Cup, at the age of 35, Rivett was comfortably fastest in class.
Fourth overall for the day was 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury), entering his second season in the category, with a best time of 1m30.996 seconds (76.75mph) placing him a mere 0.086 seconds ahead of Pyro’s Rob Smith (Telford). Devon Modell (Maidstone), who is now driving for Westbourne, rounded out the top six.
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit will host the opening two rounds of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup over the weekend 29th/30th March. Pre-event practice will take place on Friday, 28th March, with qualifying and race one following on the Saturday and race two, which will be screened live on ITV4, scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.