Josh Cook (Bath) looks set to further increase his Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup points lead when rounds nine and 10 of the season take place at Croft on Sunday, having dominated both pre-event practice sessions at the North Yorkshire track today, Friday, 27th June.
While the morning session was a bit indifferent with rain a threat but never fully materialising, the afternoon run was always likely to be the faster of the two and so it proved as SV Racing with KX driver Cook produced a best lap of 1m32.293 seconds (82.88mph).
Lapping a full 1.3 seconds quicker in the second session than he managed in the morning, Cook ended the test 0.3 seconds clear at the top of the timesheets – having been half a second to the good during the day’s opening run.
“It was a bit damp this morning, I hadn’t driven Croft since last year so we took it fairly steady to begin with but the car felt good straight away”, said the championship pace-setter, “It doesn’t matter what happens today too much, the forecast seems to be for rain for qualifying tomorrow.
“I wasn’t totally happy with my lap this afternoon, we got two purple sectors so there’s obviously something to find in the other one. We’ve got a few things to work on before tomorrow but the car is feeling really good.”
Second year Renault UK Clio Cup racer Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) starred in session two to end the day second fastest, the 20Ten Racing youngster punching in a best lap time of 1m32.589 seconds (82.62mph) to shade WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Banstead) by just 0.062 seconds.
Having qualified on the front row at the North Yorkshire track last year during the corresponding fixture, Stilp was happy to be at the sharp end again in today’s test and says he has been looking forward to the Croft weekend more than any other.
“Last year we were quite surprised to be P2 in qualifying so we’ve been waiting for Croft all year, that performance last season really gave us a lot of confidence coming into this weekend”, stated Stilp, “We’ll try our hardest to be up there again in qualifying, there are some good lads though in this championship. We need to try and find something a bit extra as the others definitely will.”
Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) was fourth quickest overall for the day, the Oulton Park race winner edging out VitalRacing with Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) by just 0.069 seconds.
Sixth placed Alex Morgan (Reading), who was only a tenth of a second shy of Colburn, headed a very evenly matched SV Racing with KX trio with a mere 0.017 seconds covering the Welshman and team-mates Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) and Ash Hand (Nuneaton).
Masters Cup points leader Lee Pattison (Scholes) was ninth fastest on combined times for the day, with series rookie Charlie Ladell (Felixstowe), who made his debut in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category last time out at Oulton Park, completing the top 10 for WDE.
Qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup will take place at 15.05 tomorrow, Saturday, 28th June, with both of the weekend’s races – which will be televised live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD – set to be contested at Croft on Sunday, 29th June.
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 Rd8):
1st Josh Cook, 215pts; 2nd James Colburn, 183pts; 3rd Mike Bushell, 175pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd8):
1st Josh Cook, 231pts; 2nd James Colburn, 212pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 191pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd8):
1st Lee Pattison, 240pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 206pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 147pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd8):
1st SV Racing with KX, 428pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 321pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 295pts