Renault UK Clio Cup points leader Josh Files (Norwich) secured a dominant double pole position at Snetterton 300 Circuit this morning, Saturday, 3rd August, during qualifying for rounds 11 and 12 of the season – although it wasn’t a completely straightforward session for the Team Pyro driver.
Topping the timesheets with a best lap of 2m09.677 seconds (82.42mph) to claim the race one pole by an impressive 0.4 seconds, Files’ second best time of 2m10.094 seconds made it a superb double at his ‘home’ track.
Earlier in the half-hour session, on two separate occasions, Files had his best times expunged after being adjudged to have exceeded track limits. His pace, though, was evident throughout and he will be joined on the front row for both encounters by chief title rival Paul Rivett (Banstead)
“I went off on the corner leading onto the back straight, but I went so far off that if an advantage was gained I’d be very surprised – I’m baffled really”, reflected Files on the removal of two of his best laps, “We’ve set the car up really well this weekend, as Pyro always do, and it’s looking great with the double pole. Snetterton is a great track, my home track, and I’m glad to be on pole.
“Last year was a bit rocky, but we raced well. This year, we’ve got off to a better start so this time we should be able to race even better. I’m not surprised that it’s Paul [Rivett] on P2, but I am surprised in as much as he hasn’t been here on the Dunlop tyres. It’s a great achievement for him, if he’s done all that in qualifying then in the races I know he’s going to be tough work.”
Rivett, who hardly got any meaningful running during testing on Friday after sustaining a broken gear linkage on his Names.co.uk/Stancombe Vehicle Engineering car, was 0.1 seconds faster than Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) who secured third on the grid for both races alongside Pyro’s Alex Morgan (Reading).
Row three for this afternoon’s 11th round will be headed by JHR Developments’ Josh Cook (Bristol) who out-qualified the incredibly evenly matched trio of KX Racing with Scuderia Vittoria drivers – Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) shading team-mate Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) by a mere 0.015 seconds with testing pace-setter Stefan Hodgetts (Redditch) eighth, just 0.007 seconds further back.
Pyro’s Ash Hand (Nuneaton), the fastest of the car racing rookies, was an excellent ninth ahead of Scuderia Vittoria’s Devon Modell (Maidstone), while the Masters Cup pole was taken by JHR’s Lee Pattison (Liversedge) in 11th overall. Behind Files, Rivett, Colburn and Morgan on the round 12 grid, Bushell was fifth on second fastest times ahead of Whorton-Eales, Hand, Hodgetts, Modell and Cook.
Local racer Jake Giddings (Wisbech) wasn’t able to post a lap time after his Clio suffered an oil leak during the opening minutes of the session, resulting in an early red flag stoppage. Scuderia Vittoria’s Finlay Crocker (West Lothian) also encountered problems with a broken gear lever.
Round 11 will get underway at 16.40 this afternoon with round 12 following at 11.10 tomorrow, Sunday, 4th August – the second of the weekend’s races is expected to be shown ‘as-live’ during the afternoon broadcast on ITV4 and ITV4 HD. Check listings for details.
Renault UK Clio Cup is sponsored by www.buyoils.co.uk with support from ELF, NGK Spark Plugs, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Files, 235pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 232pts; 3rd Alex Morgan, 215pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup WP Racing Clio Cup Team Trophy Standings (after Rd10):
1st Team Pyro, 452pts; 2nd Scuderia Vittoria, 371pts; 3rd JHR Developments, 335pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ Standings (after Rd10):
1st Josh Files, 273pts; 2nd James Colburn, 248pts; 3rd Josh Cook, 215pts
Provisional 2013 Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ Standings (after Rd10):
1st Simon Belcher, 251pts; 2nd Graham Field, 236pts; 3rd Finlay Crocker, 195pts