Dorlin sets blistering pace to head Rivett & Lidsey in Rockingham free practice

James Dorlin set the pace in Renault UK Clio Cup free practice on Friday at Rockingham as the top ten drivers all went faster than the race lap record.
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It was the morning first session, FP1, in which almost every driver set their fastest lap of the day as the majority of FP2 in the afternoon was run in rainy conditions.

Dorlin’s best lap time of 1m29.410s was some seven tenths of a second under the existing race record (Lee Pattison’s 1m30.108s) although still around 3/10ths adrift of the the fastest ever seen in a qualifying session (Max Coates’s 1m29.148s).

Nevertheless Dorlin was still almost a quarter of a second up on anyone else – a clear indicator that he is determined to get back to winning ways this weekend in his bid to close the gap to championship leader Coates.

Pyro’s Coates ended the session fifth fastest overall but was adamant he had “plenty of time in the bag…” In between him and Dorlin in second, third and fourth and covered by just 0.020s were WDE’s Paul Rivett (currently second to Coates in the standings), MRM’s Brett Lidsey and Pyro’s Bradley Burns. WDE’s Dan Zelos completed the top six.

The afternoon’s session started out dry but rain swiftly swept in with drizzle soon turning to a heavy shower.

Who was fastest depended on when drivers were out on track although many managed to complete at least one dry lap in the early stages.

Pyro’s Jack McCarthy ultimately set the session’s fastest time with a 1m30.351s, just 0.055s ahead of team-mate Burns and only 0.099s clear of Jack Young who, in third, again looked impressive in his second outing for the MRM team.

Dorlin was this time fourth ahead of another of the championship’s latest new finds Nick Reeve – fifth for the Specialized Motorsport team – and DRM’s Daniel Rowbottom in sixth. Rowbottom and Reeve were still back in P14 nd P16 on combined time, however, because they had struggled in the fastest first session with car issues.

The Clio Cup drivers will next be on track tomorrow for their 30-minute qualifying session at 11:20 ahead of their first race of the weekend, round 13 of the season, at 16:10. Round 14 follows on Sunday at 13:30.

Heading into the races Coates holds a 27-point advantage at the top of the table with Rivett and Dorlin next up in second and third…

Leading times, Free Practice, Renault UK Clio Cup, Rockingham
1. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), 1m29.410s (78.11mph)
2. Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport), +0.234s
3. Brett Lidsey (MRM), +0.238s
4. Bradley Burns (Team Pyro), +0.254s
5. Max Coates (Team Pyro), +0.359s
6. Dan Zelos (WDE Motorsport), +0.378s
7. Jack McCarthy (Team Pyro), +0.562s
8. Sam Osborne (WDE Motorsport), +0.612s
9. Michael Epps (Matrix Motorsport), +0.616s
10. James Colburn (Westbourne Motorsport), +0.650s

CLICK HERE for full times.