During the session Hand and Sutton both beat the previous qualifying record – set by 2014 Champion and now British Touring Car racer Mike Bushell. Ultimately it was Hand who came out on top with a best lap in 56.841s which secured him pole position for the first of this weekend’s two Clio Cup rounds at Knockhill (to be held later today at 5.00pm).
Hand’s second best lap (56.931s) was also better than anyone else’s to guarantee him pole for race two, on Sunday.
In fact there was an identical look to the front end of both grids with the championship’s current top four filling the first two rows with Hand and Sutton ahead of WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett and Maximum Motorsport’s Whorton-Eales. However Whorton-Eales must serve a two-place grid penalty for the first of those two races (following an incident at Croft) which means he will start this afternoon’s encounter from sixth.
That means JamSport Racing’s Dan Holland and Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison will start ahead of him later today in fourth and fifth positions. Tomorrow they will line up with Pattison in fifth and Holland in sixth.
Behind 20Ten Racing’s Jack Mitchell and WDE’s Charlie Ladell took a seventh and eighth apiece on the two grids.
Click here to view the full results from qualifying.
Hand, second in the standings, commented: “Everything went to plan for me in that session – I got myself a clear circuit for both my runs and made the most of it. Now to this afternoon’s race… the times are tight; I think things could get interesting but I’m ready for it.”
BMR Restart-backed Sutton, third in the points table, added: “Two front rows – I’m happy with that. I thought pole might have been on – I was on course for it half way around one lap but made a mistake in the final sector but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s race with Ash.”
And said Rivett: “I’m quite happy with that – I was up to P2 for a while until Ashley found just a little bit more. But the races should be good for us. Maybe those two will fight a bit. If so I’ll be right there looking to pounce.”
Whorton-Eales said: “Maybe we haven’t quite hit the sweet spot with the car yet but the pace is still pretty good. I think we’ll be stronger in the races relative to the others but starting from P6 in race one could make things a bit tough.”