Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) will go into the second event of the 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup season at Donington Park over the weekend in confident mood, having topped the timesheets during testing at the Leicestershire track today, Thursday, 17th April.
Making the ideal start to the Easter weekend race meeting, Bushell – who is second in the driver standings – worked on the set-up during the opening session at the 1.98-mile National Circuit this morning before making a series of changes for the afternoon which paid dividends.
Producing a best lap of 1m17.300 seconds (92.16mph) in session two, the 24-year-old shaded the session one pace-setter Lee Pattison (Scholes) by 0.158 seconds with the JHR Developments driver therefore concluding the day second on combined times and quickest in the Masters Cup.
“Today has gone really well”, said Bushell, “We spent the first session just getting used to the track, settling in, and then we made some adjustments for the second session which did exactly what we wanted. We have our plan of what we want to achieve from the first few races, [Alex] Morgan has a good lead so I just need to get as many points as I can from the weekend – the pace is there.”
Ash Hand (Nuneaton) was an impressive third fastest overall, as well as being the quickest of the Graduate Cup class runners and the best of the SV Racing with KX contingent, thanks to his session two time of 1m17.610 seconds (91.80mph).
Incredibly, and underlining the fantastic competitiveness of the Renault UK Clio Cup in the first season featuring the fourth generation turbo-charged car, a ludicrously tiny margin of just seven hundredths of a second separated the next five cars.
Westbourne Motorsport’s Devon Modell (Maidstone), fourth overall for the day, was only 0.005 seconds shy of Hand’s best time with SV Racing team-mates Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) and Josh Cook (Bath) fifth and sixth. Jordan Stilp (Potterspury), third fastest in session one, was seventh on combined times for Little Eaton’s 20Ten Racing ahead of Westbourne’s James Colburn (Worthing).
Paul Rivett (Banstead) was ninth for WDE Motorsport ahead of Pyro’s Rob Smith (Telford), while championship leader Alex Morgan (Reading), who celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday, didn’t have the best of starts to the weekend after ending the day just outside the top 10 due to car issues.
With a day off tomorrow, Good Friday, the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup competitors will return to the track on Saturday, 19th April, with qualifying for rounds three and four of the campaign taking place at 14.05.
On Easter Sunday, 20th April, race one will get underway at 10.05 with race two, which will be screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD and streamed live on the www.itv.com/btcc website, following at around 15.45.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd2):
1st Alex Morgan, 64pts; 2nd Mike Bushell, 49pts; 3rd Rob Smith, 48pts
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd2):
1st Rob Smith, 60pts; =2nd Ant Whorton-Eales/Josh Cook/James Colburn, 50pts
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd2):
=1st Paul Rivett/Lee Pattison, 60pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 50pts
2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd2):
1st SV Racing, 111pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 95pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 66pts