VitalRacing with Team Pyro driver Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) continued his outstanding start to the Snetterton race weekend during qualifying for rounds 11 and 12 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup this morning, Saturday, 2nd August, by claiming a superb double pole position.
Having impressively led the way during testing at the Norfolk venue’s 300 Circuit layout on Friday by 0.4 seconds, Bushell was similarly dominant during today’s all-important qualifying session to head the timsheets by more than 0.3 seconds.
Championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) held the advantage at the halfway point but as many of the drivers pitted midway through to switch Dunlop tyres, Bushell remained on track chipping away at Cook’s time.
Edging ever closer, Bushell moved to the top of the timing screens with just under 10 minutes to go and after re-emerging from his stop with six minutes remaining he really made his mark by going quicker still – his round 11 pole time of 2m07.159 seconds (84.05mph) coming on the last lap.
“I was called in on the first set of tyres about halfway through but I thought, hang on a minute, this is actually getting better and better – so I stayed out”, explained Bushell, “I obviously did some good times, they were getting quicker and quicker so I just wanted to keep going on those tyres.
“After Croft it’s really good to be back at the sharp end. We had to deal with a spare engine during the last two rounds, now we’ve got all our original kit back we’re as we should be. I’m very happy and really looking forward to both races.”
Cook, who took Graduate Cup class pole, will begin both of the weekend’s encounters alongside Bushell on the front row of the grid, the SV Racing with KX driver finishing 0.146 seconds clear of WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Banstead).
With third on the grid for each race, Rivett delivered one of his best showings of the season so far and also sealed Masters Cup class pole for each race. Due to a grid penalty from the Croft event, though, the three-time champion will actually start in fifth place for round 11 behind SV Racing with KX duo Alex Morgan (Reading) and Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield).
Double Croft race winner Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) completes the top six for 20Ten Racing ahead of Pyro’s Lee Pattison (Scholes) and Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing). The top eight in qualifying were covered by just 0.7 seconds.
For the round 12 grid, produced from each driver’s second fastest times, Bushell, Cook and Rivett are the top three with Whorton-Eales beginning the race in fourth and Stilp fifth. Pattison will line-up in sixth place ahead of Colburn and Morgan
Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup debutant Paul Knapp (Worthing) produced a notable performance in his first ever qualifying session in the championship, posting the 12th fastest time for both races and third in the Masters Cup class. Due to a Croft grid penalty for Ash Hand (Nuneaton), Knapp will actually begin round 11 from 10th position.
Round 11 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup season will get underway at 16.40 this afternoon, Saturday, 2nd August, with round 12 following on Sunday, 3rd August, at 11.10.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Cook, 237pts; 2nd James Colburn, 222pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 207pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd10):
1st James Colburn, 258pts; 2nd Josh Cook, 253pts; 3rd Jordan Stilp, 244pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd10):
1st Lee Pattison, 300pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 263pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 200pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd10):
1st SV Racing with KX, 524pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 381pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 350pts