Josh Cook (Bristol) impressively led the way during officially timed Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup testing at Thruxton today, Wednesday, 9th April, lapping a full 0.3 seconds faster than his nearest rivals.
After bedding himself in during the morning session with the sixth quickest time, the SV Racing with KX driver upped the pace in the afternoon on an improved set of Dunlop tyres to produce a fastest lap of 1m24.110 seconds (100.83mph).
With track time at the Hampshire venue strictly limited during the year, today’s outing acted as the pre-event test for the Thruxton race meeting – rounds five and six of the Clio Cup season – which will take place over the weekend 3rd/4th May.
“We’ve got the pace, as long as you’re somewhere near the front at Thruxton you’re OK so I’m happy with today”, said Cook, “We used really old tyres this morning, then put a decent set on for the afternoon. I was on for a decent lap but had a lock-up, did a fairly quick lap, a 24.2 I think, and then had [Alex] Morgan in the distance – as I caught him I was able to get in his tow.
“I’m happy to be fastest today but we were in this position at Brands during the test there, then in qualifying the intercooler pipe came off. We’re certainly in the right place and we just need to keep trying to bag the points for the championship. Today has been good so we’ll see how next week goes at Donington.”
The majority of drivers taking part in today’s test set their fastest times during the afternoon run, with Team Pyro’s Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) and JHR Developments’ Lee Pattison (Scholes) separated by a mere 0.001 seconds in second and third place overall respectively.
Fourth on combined times, and just 0.004 seconds shy of Pattison, was championship points leader and double Brands Hatch race winner Alex Morgan (Reading) for SV Racing, with WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett (Banstead) fifth quickest ahead of session one pace-setter James Colburn (Worthing).
While Colburn was happy to have posted the best lap of the morning, a time of 1m24.675 seconds (100.16mph), an unfortunate excursion late in the session resulted in his Westbourne Motorsport Clio sustaining heavy damage – ruling him out of the afternoon test.
“It’ll be an all-nighter getting the car fixed as we’ve got another test coming up”, said Colburn, “The signs were good this morning, we fixed the problem we had in the first round and it was all looking OK. I came out of the complex and it was really bizarre, the car just twitched as soon as I turned – I caught it but a wheel went on the grass, which was wet, and the car went straight into the barriers.”
SV Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) ended the day seventh fastest overall, 0.1 seconds ahead of Graduate Cup points leader Rob Smith (Telford) who had been inside the top three for Pyro during session one. Westbourne’s Devon Modell (Maidstone) and 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) were ninth and 10th respectively.
Next on the schedule for the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup drivers and teams will be the officially timed pre-event test session for the next two rounds of the championship, which will be contested on Easter weekend – 19th/20th April – at Donington Park National Circuit. The test sessions will take place at the Leicestershire track next Thursday, 17th April.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.