Dorlin & Coates take Snetterton pole positions as qualifying record is shattered

Title rivals James Dorlin – with a new qualifying record – and Max Coates have taken a pole position apiece for Sunday’s two crunch Renault UK Clio Cup rounds at Snetterton but only just with Bradley Burns also getting in on the act.
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Westbourne Motorsport driver Dorlin was fastest of all during this morning’s qualifying session with an astonishing lap time in 2m05.896s that shattered Mike Bushell’s record of 2m06.339s set last year.

Team Pyro’s Burns was best of the rest, albeit 0.229s adrift of Dorlin. WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett was third from Pyro’s Coates. Fifth and sixth to make it three WDE drivers in the top six were local Dan Zelos and Lee Pattison.

It means Dorlin, Coates and Rivett – the three drivers currently leading the standings – will all start the first of tomorrow’s two races (at 09:55) from the front two rows of the grid.

However race two’s grid – based on each driver’s second fastest qualifying lap – will take on a slightly different look at the front. This time it will be Coates on pole from Dorlin, Burns, Pattison, Zelos and 16-year-old newcomer Jack Young in his MRM car. Rivett will start the race (which gets under way at 15:45) from eighth.

Dorlin, third in the standings, commented: “I’m not quite sure where that lap in the fives came from as I didn’t have a tow, but it was a nice surprise. A front row start for race two as well… that’ll do nicely.”

Championship leader Coates said: “I’m a bit frustrated as I was held up by a driver on what should have been my best lap which could have meant I was higher up for race one’s grid but pole for race two is still good. I can see a big fight in tomorrow’s two races.”

And added Burns, another of the grid’s 16-year-old sensations: “Second and third on the two grids – I’m very happy with that. The overnight rain had changed the feel of the track quite a bit but we were able to get back to the sort of form in qualifying we had at Donington. I’m looking forward to tomorrow…”

Other stand-out performances included those of Young – seventh on race one’s grid to add to his sixth for race two – and fellow newcomer Nick Reeve, also aged just 16. He and his team, Specialized Motorsport, are both new to the Clio Cup this weekend and eighth on the grid for race one was a fine result.

Similarly Ben Colburn, also making his debut at Snetterton, could be well satisfied with a pair of 12ths for Westbourne Motorsport.

2015 championship runner-up Ash Hand, standing in at short notice for Matrix Motorsport’s absent Andy Wilmot, also qualified well with tenth and 13th on the two grids.

But there were problems for Matrix’s regular ‘lead driver’ Michael Epps and also MRM’s Brett Lidsey who both damaged their cars early on in the session. Epps wound up 11th and ninth, Lidsey 22nd and then 23rd.

Leading grid positions, Round 11, Snetterton
1. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), 2m05.896s (84.89mph) NEW RECORD
2. Bradley Burns (Team Pyro), +0.229s
3. Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport), +0.357s
4. Max Coates (Team Pyro), +0.380s
5. Dan Zelos (WDE Motorsport), +0.463s
6. Lee Pattison (WDE Motorsport), +0.669s
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Leading grid positions, Round 12, Snetterton
1. Max Coates (Team Pyro), +2m06.276s
2. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), +0.187s
3. Bradley Burns (Team Pyro), +0.279s
4. Lee Pattison (WDE Motorsport), +0.567s
5. Dan Zelos (WDE Motorsport), +0.760s
6. Jack Young (MRM), +0.768s
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