Lee Pattison (Liversedge) secured his first ever Renault UK Clio Cup pole position on only his second weekend back in the championship at Thruxton this morning, Saturday, 4th May, during a frantic final few minutes of the half-hour qualifying session for rounds five and six of the season.
The JHR Developments driver, who returned to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship support category during the previous event at Donington Park after two and a half years away, took the top spot on the grid for race one of the weekend on his penultimate lap.
An excursion at Goodwood for Total Control Racing’s Rob Smith (Telford), with around six minutes of the session remaining, resulted in the red flags being shown and when the action resumed Pattison hit the top of the times with a quickest lap of 1m24.899 seconds (99.90mph).
“We arrived at Donington with a car we’d only picked up on the Friday night, we didn’t have a chance to go through it and I’d never tested on the Dunlops before – plus I hadn’t driven a Clio for two and a half years either so to do what we have here at Thruxton is impressive”, said Pattison.
KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria’s Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch), who will line-up sixth on the grid for round five, produced an incredibly consistent second best time and will begin the televised sixth round on Sunday, 5th May, from pole position – his first of the year. His best two laps of the session were a mere 0.003 seconds apart.
“We’ve had a lot of things go wrong so far this season, this is much better and we should be able to get a couple of decent results from where we’re starting this weekend”, commented Hodgetts, “It’s what we need after a tough year so far.”
Josh Files (Norwich) will start both races from the front-row of the grid after a strong session in his Team Pyro car. Behind Pattison and Files on the grid for this afternoon’s fifth round will be Finesse Motorsport’s Jake Giddings (Wisbech), a best yet third fastest, with JHR’s Josh Cook (Bristol) fourth and karting graduate Ash Hand (Nuneaton) an excellent fifth for Pyro alongside Hodgetts.
For round six Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) will head row two of the grid with Giddings lining-up in fourth place, capping a superb start to the weekend for him, Pattison fifth and Hand up at the sharp end again in sixth.
Championship leader Paul Rivett (Banstead) endured a disappointing session and was only able to manage 13th on the grid for both races in his Names.co.uk/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering-run Clio. Pattison claimed the Masters Cup poles for both rounds five and six, while Files did the same in the Graduate Cup class.
Round five of the 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup will take place this afternoon at 16.35 with round six set to follow at approximately 12.40 on Sunday, 5th May. Tomorrow’s encounter will be screened live across the UK on ITV4, in High Definition on ITV4 HD and will also be online 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 Rd4):
1st Paul Rivett, 114pts; 2nd Alex Morgan, 101pts; 3rd Josh Files, 94pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd4):
1st Team Pyro, 190pts; 2nd Westbourne Motorsport, 158pts; 3rd Scuderia Vittoria, 118pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd4):
=1st Josh Files & James Colburn, 106pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 90pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd4):
1st Graham Field, 100pts; 2nd Finlay Crocker, 89pts; 3rd Simon Belcher, 84pts