Lee Pattison (Liversedge) topped the timesheets during Renault UK Clio Cup testing at Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit today, Friday, 13th September, to make a tremendous start to the penultimate weekend of the 2013 season.
Ahead of rounds 13 and 14 of the campaign at the Northamptonshire track, the JHR Developments driver – who has already claimed an outright race victory this year – led the way on combined times with his best lap from the morning session, an effort of 1m31.092 seconds (76.66mph).
“It’s a very good start to the weekend for Lee and the team”, said JHR principal Steve Hunter, “If it hadn’t been for a slight mistake in the final sector this afternoon we’d have been P1 in both sessions, so it’s looking good. Lee is driving very well, his head’s in gear so we’re hoping for a good weekend.
“We’ve gone all out to get a good qualifying set-up today, it’s imperative around here you’re quick from the off and qualifying is exceptionally important at Rockingham. We’ve done a hefty amount of work during the two sessions today so hopefully it’ll pay off tomorrow.”
Second fastest on the combined times, and quickest in the afternoon session, was KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria’s multiple race winner Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch). With a lap of 1m31.147 seconds (76.62mph), he got to within a mere 0.055 seconds of Pattison’s best of the day.
Also within less than a tenth of a second of Pattison was Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) who ended up third quickest overall, only 0.078 seconds away from the top of the times, with a lap of 1m31.170 seconds (76.60mph).
First year Renault UK Clio Cup racer Josh Wakefield (Colchester) delivered by far his best showing of the season with the fourth fastest time for Scuderia Vittoria, little more than 0.1 seconds shy of team-mate Hodgetts. The second KX Racing-liveried car of Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) made it three Scuderia Vittoria fettled Clios in the top five.
“It’s been a good day”, reflected Scuderia Vittoria team principal Danny Buxton, “It’s always nice to be quick in testing, but there’s a long way to go this weekend yet. Stefan and Ant both did a great job and I’m really chuffed with Josh’s performance, if he can knuckle down tomorrow and reproduce the same pace it’ll do him the world of good. This sort of performance has been coming for a while.”
Rounding out the overall top six was impressive Clio Cup rookie Ash Hand (Nuneaton), the best of the Team Pyro drivers, ahead of JHR’s Josh Cook (Bristol), Westbourne’s first year racer Jordan Stilp (Potterspury), Juta Racing’s Lithuanian driver Ignas Gelzinis and Scuderia Vittoria’s Devon Modell (Maidstone). Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford) just missed the top 10 by 0.081 seconds.
Pyro’s championship leader Josh Files (Norwich) and his chief title rival, Names.co.uk/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Paul Rivett (Banstead), were 13th and 22nd fastest respectively but will certainly be in the mix during qualifying tomorrow.
Renault UK Clio Cup debutant Luke Herbert (Chichester) ended his first officially timed day on Dunlop tyres 18th quickest overall while, in terms of the Masters Cup and Graduate Cup classes, the pace setters were Pattison and Colburn.
Qualifying for rounds 13 and 14 of the Renault UK Clio Cup season will begin at 10.50 tomorrow, Saturday, 14th September, with the first race of the weekend following at 16.20. On Sunday, 15th September, round 14 will get underway at around 14.40 and will be screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, with the addition of online streaming at www.itv.com/btcc
Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd12 inc. drop score):
1st Josh Files, 287pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 281pts; 3rd Alex Morgan, 246pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd12):
1st Team Pyro, 552pts; 2nd Scuderia Vittoria, 445pts; 3rd JHR Developments, 403pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd12 – inc. drop score):
1st Josh Files, 323pts; 2nd James Colburn, 276pts; 3rd Josh Cook, 268pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd12 – inc. drop score):
1st Simon Belcher, 307pts; 2nd Graham Field, 263pts; 3rd Lee Pattison, 256pts