Bushell & Whorton-Eales almost inseparable in Renault UK Clio Cup free practice ahead of Brands Hatch title showdown

Just 13 1000ths of a second separated Mike Bushell and Ant Whorton-Eales as the two arch rivals headed the timesheets in today’s official practice sessions at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent where this weekend (Sat 1/Sun 2 Oct) one of them will be crowned the 2016 Renault UK Clio Cup Champion.
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Team Pyro’s Bushell, Champion in 2014, set the pace in the morning’s opening session with a best time of one minute, 39.400 seconds. JamSport’s Whorton-Eales then went quickest of all in the afternoon with a lap around Brands’s legendary Grand Prix circuit of 1m39.413s.

Third and fourth fastest outright – both relying on their session two times – were three-time Champion Paul Rivett, driving for the local Ashford-based team 4Front Motor Group with WDE, and Finesse Motorsport’s Paul Streather.

Less than a second covered the top 12 runners. However some drivers were left frustrated in session two which, just as it appeared times would improve further, was interrupted by red flag stoppages when Whorton-Eales’s team-mates George Jackson and Luke Kidsley suffered accidents.

Bushell commented: “I’m feeling very comfortable with our form today – particularly as we also almost matched Ant’s time in session two without needing to run fresh tyres. On saying that today’s running has all been in the dry but the forecast for tomorrow is drizzle…”

Whorton-Eales said: “I know there’s quite a bit more time to come – we’d barely got the tyres up to temperature when we set that time in the second session and then it all got interrupted by the red flags. I’m feeling pretty good whatever the weather.”

This weekend’s final two rounds of the Renault UK Clio Cup will be played out thus:
- Sat 1 Oct, 10.55am-11.25am, Qualifying (to decide the starting grid orders for both races)
- Sat 1 Oct, 2.30pm, Race 1 (12 laps)
- Sun 2 Oct, 1.30pm, Race 2 (12 laps – live on ITV4)

Bushell goes into the two races leading Whorton-Eales by 22 points on outright scores. However when the championship’s all-important two-dropped-scores rule is applied, Whorton-Eales currently comes out ahead by eight.

Top times overall, Free Practice, Renault UK Clio Cup, Brands Hatch GP, Fri 30 Sept 2016
1. Mike Bushell (Team Pyro), 1m39.400s
2. Ant Whorton-Eales (JamSport with AWE Motorsport), +0.013s
3. Paul Rivett (4Front Motor Group with WDE), +0.180s
4. Paul Streather (Finesse Motorsport), +0.205s
5. Lee Pattison (Team Cooksport), +0.539s
6. David Dickenson (Team Pyro), +0.568s
7. Luke Kidsley (JamSport Racing), +0.610s
8. Dan Zelos (Ciceley Motorsport), +0.629s
9. Josh Price (Team Pyro), +0.703s
10. Chris Smiley (Nanobite powered by JamSport), +0.732s

CLICK HERE for full times and sector analysis.