Championship contenders Paul Rivett (Banstead) and Josh Files (Norwich) will start both of the weekend’s Renault UK Clio Cup races at Donington Park National Circuit from the front row of the grid following a very tight qualifying session this morning, Saturday, 20th April.
Multiple champion Rivett, driving for the PER HIRE/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering squad, secured pole position for this afternoon’s third round of the season with a best lap of 1m17.972 seconds (91.37mph), just shading Files by 0.095 seconds. The Team Pyro driver though, the pace-setter during pre-event testing, grabbed the round four pole with a lap of 1m18.126s.
“Twice I thought I was on a better lap than my pole lap but came across traffic and had to ease off”, said Rivett, “At the end I knew I wasn’t going to be any faster, and I kept getting traffic, so I thought pole for the first race would do – I’m really, really pleased. We’ve probably still got a little bit more to find with the tyres, not a lot though!”
Files, who was dominant during Thursday’s running at the 1.98-mile Leicestershire track, was happy to have secured front row starts for both Donington races but, like Rivett, also had some problems with slower traffic in the busy 24-car entry.
“I think second for this afternoon could be quite difficult to hang it around the outside at the first corner but tomorrow’s pole is good and what we wanted”, said Files, “I am a little bit disappointed, I’m not going to lie, that we don’t have the double pole but I got blocked on my proper flying lap which I was very irate about. I’m happy enough though, it’s a massive improvement on Brands.”
Behind Rivett and Files on the grid for this afternoon’s 14-lap Renault UK Clio Cup encounter will be Pyro’s round two race winner Alex Morgan (Reading) and Westbourne Motorsport’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) in third and fourth respectively.
Jake Giddings (Wisbech) qualified an excellent fifth for Finesse Motorsport with Clio rookie Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) a superb sixth for Westbourne. Fellow newcomer James Nutbrown was an equally impressive seventh for Pyro and KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) rounds out row four – just half a second covering the top eight.
For Sunday’s fourth round, which will be screened live across the UK on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, Files heads Rivett, Morgan and Bushell with Stilp an improved, and very noteworthy, fifth on the grid ahead of Whorton-Eales.
In terms of the Graduate Cup and Masters Cup battles, Files has the double pole in the former while championship returnee Lee Pattison (Liversedge) has both Masters pole positions having qualified 11th and 14th for the weekend’s two encounters in his JHR Developments prepared Clio.
Outright championship leader James Colburn (Worthing), meanwhile, has a fight on his hands to retain his place at the top of the driver standings having qualified ninth on the grid for round three, seventh for round four. After a problem with his car’s fire extinguisher early in the qualifying session, Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) will line-up an uncharacteristic 14th and 16th having completed just 11 laps in total.
Round three gets underway at 17.05 this afternoon with round four following tomorrow, Sunday, 21st April, at 13.35 – in addition to live coverage on ITV4 and ITV4 HD, there will be streaming 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 Rd2):
1st James Colburn, 57pts; 2nd Alex Morgan, 54pts; 3rd Paul Rivett, 48pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd2):
1st Westbourne Motorsport, 94pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 87pts; 3rd Scuderia Vittoria, 62pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd2):
1st James Colburn, 64pts; 2nd Ant Whorton-Eales, 50pts; =3rd Josh Files & Jake Giddings, 42pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd2):
1st Finlay Crocker, 64pts; 2nd Graham Field, 53pts; 3rd Simon Belcher, 28pts