“On the limit” Bushell heads Snetterton qualifying as Dorlin grabs maiden pole position for race two

Mike Bushell pipped chief title rival Lee Pattison to pole position for the first of Snetterton’s two Renault UK Clio Cup races tomorrow but it will be James Dorlin and Max Coates who will share the front row of the grid for race two following a pulsating qualifying session at the Norfolk circuit.
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With just two minutes to go championship leader Bushell had been off the front row of the race one grid – decided by fastest outright laps. But with one desperate final effort the Team Pyro ace managed to get the job done with a best time of two minutes, 06.399 seconds – a new qualifying record for the UK Clio Cup around Snetterton. It is also Bushell’s ninth pole of the 2017 season…

His time was just enough to deny WDE Motorsport’s Pattison of the top spot. Pyro’s Jack McCarthy and Westbourne Motorsport’s Dorlin were next up. Ciceley Motorsport’s Coates and Pyro’s Lucas Orrock completed the top six.

Bushell commented: “It was a bit of red mist on my part – our plan wasn’t working out and I suddenly sensed there was only time for one more serious lap. I kept it flat through the Bombhole and Coram corners – something I’ve not done before. It was on the limit.”

Pattison said: “I’m happy with P2 but fuming at the same time – I messed up on both my best laps and it’s given Mike the pole. But we’re pretty confident the WDE car has the best race pace of any car out there so let’s see how it works out tomorrow.”

Race two’s grid – decided by each driver’s second fastest lap time in qualifying – went the way of 18-year-old Dorlin. It is Dorlin’s first ever pole in the UK Clio Cup. The fact that it was Coates who was next up means tomorrow’s race two grid will mark the first time since Donington Park’s rounds in April that Bushell has qualified off the front row.

Bushell will start the race from third, again with Pattison alongside him in fourth. Fifth and sixth will be Orrock and McCarthy. Sixth and fifth for the two races are Orrock’s best qualifying results of the season so far…

Meanwhile Dorlin, who won at Thruxton back in May, enthused: “This is just what we need – we’ve changed the set-up of the car here and I’m able to lean on it a lot more. For a moment there we were also in with a shot of pole for race one as well. I’m very happy.”

Coates added: “It was such a close session and for a lot of it my name was at the top of the timing screens. But it’s nice to be back on the front row of the grid and P5 for race one shows we’ve got genuine pace here.”

Both UK Clio Cup races at Snetterton – rounds 11 and 12 of the 18-round championship – take place tomorrow, at 10:40 and 17:45. Race one will be shown as part of ITV4’s live coverage of the event which also includes the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship.

Leading grid positions, UK Clio Cup, Round 11, Snetterton
1. Mike Bushell (Team Pyro), 2m06.399s
2. Lee Pattison (WDE Motorsport), +0.203s
3. Jack McCarthy (Team Pyro), +0.214s
4. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), +0.287s
5. Max Coates (Ciceley Motorsport), +0.340s
6. Lucas Orrock (Team Pyro), +0.447s
CLICK HERE for full qualifying times

Leading grid positions, UK Clio Cup, Round 12, Snetterton
1. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), 2m06.710s
2. Max Coates (Ciceley Motorsport), +0.107s
3. Mike Bushell (Team Pyro), +0.159s
4. Lee Pattison (WDE Motorsport), +0.223s
5. Lucas Orrock (Team Pyro), +0.237s
6. Jack McCarthy (Team Pyro), +0.306s
CLICK HERE for full qualifying times