Ashley Sutton dominated the first of today’s two Renault UK Clio Cup practice sessions at Rockingham but expects the pace to hot up even more when the grid ventures back out on track again later this afternoon, while Luke Kidsley impressed mightily on his debut with the third fastest time for the JamSport Racing team.
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Team Pyro’s Sutton set a best time of one minute 30.062 seconds in his BMR Restart-backed car – that was close to half a second faster than the next fastest driver, his team-mate Ash Hand who he is currently chasing for the championship lead.

Sutton said: “That was on new tyres and if I’d strung my best three sectors together then a 29.7 was on – I think that will be do-able without the tow effect in session two and there might even be as much as another half a second again if you can pick up someone’s slipstream around the lap.”

His time, however, was still a second off that achieved by Maximum Motorsport’s Ant Whorton-Eales during pre-season testing at Rockingham. Whorton-Eales, who had led the standings until recently, finished the session back in eighth – some 1.6s adrift of Sutton as a mechanical fault was later discovered on his car.

The big surprise was JamSport’s Kidsley, a terrific third outright and just 0.095s behind Hand in his first run in anger in a Clio Cup car. Paul Rivett, the fourth of the main title contenders, was next up, only 0.81s behind Kidsley as he put in two long runs. His WDE Motorsport team-mate Charlie Ladell followed in fifth but had to sit out most of the session because of a problem with his car’s brakes.

JamSport’s Tom Grundy completed the top six. Seventh was Team Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne whose session ended with a last lap off into a gravel trap at the Tarzan corner while ninth, behind Whorton-Eales, was the returning Peter Felix – a late entry with the 20Ten Racing squad. Cooksport’s George Jackson was tenth.