Rivett and Bushell take pole positions in Renault UK Clio Cup qualifying at Croft Circuit

Paul Rivett has taken pole position for this afternoon’s Renault UK Clio Cup round at Croft Circuit but it is Mike Bushell who will start from first on the grid for Sunday’s race by the closest qualifying margin in championship history.
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4Front Motor Group with WDE’s Rivett set the fastest lap of all in this morning’s qualifying session with a time of one minute, 31.458 seconds to guarantee himself pole for race one – decided by each driver’s best lap.

That was a mighty 0.266s clear of the rest – headed by Team Pyro’s excellent David Dickenson – and a mere 0.006s shy of the UK Clio Cup qualifying record at Croft.

Second place for Dickenson is by far the best qualifying position of his UK Clio Cup career. Third and fourth fastest were Pyro team-mate Bushell and Team Cooksport’s Lee Pattison. WDE’s Charles Ladell and Pyro’s Josh Price completed the top six on the race one grid.

However for Sunday’s second race grid – decided by a driver’s second fastest lap – there was a shuffle in the order with Bushell taking the top spot by just 0.002s from Price (for whom second is also his best qualifying performance to date).

That equals the closest gap ever seen between the top two in a UK Clio Cup qualifying session – initially set by Adam Bonham and Josh Files at Thruxton in 2012.

The close gaps between the following runners continued as well with Rivett taking third (just 0.023s behind Price), Dickenson fourth (0.010s adrift of Rivett) and Coates fifth, a mere 0.003s further back. Team BMR with Pyro’s Senna Proctor – like Coates racing on home ground – was sixth this time.

Notably JamSport’s Ant Whorton-Eales – reinstated as championship leader by an MSA tribunal (CLICK HERE) – qualified only eighth and 11th fastest for the two grids.

Rivett, third in the standings arriving at Croft, commented: “Oulton Park two weeks ago was a bit of a nightmare for us and I’ve come here pretty fired up saying I’m determined to put it on pole position and win both races. We’ll I’ve got pole for today’s race and now I’m only thinking of winning it.”

Bushell said: “I had been leading the championship until Ant got his Donington points back but third and first for me and him having a troubled session gives me a chance to immediately start eating back into his advantage. We need to make the most of it.”

Dickenson was naturally delighted with his front row qualifying performance for race one, adding: “This backs up the form we showed in Friday’s free practice sessions and I’m really feeling at one with the car now. It’s just brilliant.”

Price, too, was overjoyed with second on the grid for race two on what is his first race meeting at Croft. The 17-year-old said: “I can’t really complain with that, can I? I still feel like I’m learning the circuit but it feels great to back up there like we were at Thruxton.”

CLICK HERE for full qualifying times for Croft’s two UK Clio Cup rounds plus sector and speed trap figures.