DRM’s Rowbottom needed a new qualifying lap record to secure top spot on the grid for the first of the weekend’s two races – to be held later this afternoon at 16:00 and being broadcast LIVE online by ITV Sport.
Indeed the top four drivers were covered by just 0.094 of a second but Rowbottom’s 1m38.136s was enough to get the job done. It beat Mike Bushell's previous qualifying record on the Brands GP circuit of 1m38.441s set 12 months ago...
Young was next up, a mere 0.032s adrift, while Team Pyro’s Bradley Burns and Westbourne Motorsport’s James Dorlin – 0.086s and 0.094s off Rowbottom’s time – qualified third and fourth fastest.
Rowbottom and Dorlin are two of the four drivers going for the title this weekend. The other two, WDE Motorsport’s Paul Rivett and Pyro’s Max Coates, took fifth and seventh on the grid – split by MRM’s Brett Lidsey in sixth.
For race two, which takes place tomorrow live on ITV4 at 13:30 the ‘Title 4’ are all inside the top six but it’s a slightly different order.
Young’s second fastest time was enough for him to bag pole – his and the MRM team’s first in the Clio Cup. More than that, it means the record for ‘youngest ever pole’ has fallen three times in 2018 after Pyro pair Jack McCarthy and then Burns had held it earlier in the season. However, at 16 years, 11 months and 18 days, it now belongs to Burns…
Lining up alongside Young in second on race two’s grid will be Dorlin. Third and fourth will be Burns and Rowbottom with Rivett and Coates – the top two currently in the standings – right next to each other, fifth and sixth on row three.
For the record, Coates goes into the season finale leading the standings by six points from Rivett in second with Dorlin just one point further back in third. A maximum of 56 is up for grabs making Rowbottom, 49 adrift of the top, the big outsider.
Rowbottom said: “We had a bit of a ‘mare in Friday’s free practice sessions but we figured it out overnight so this is a relief. I got myself into a good position on track to get a good tow off Coates and with nothing to lose just laid it on the line…”
Young enthused: “It feels great – second and first at last and the new record. But best of all I’ve won a bet with my team boss Mike Ritchie that I get to use his paddock buggy for the rest of the weekend!”
Meanwhile Dorlin commented: “That’s pretty much perfect ahead of Max and Paul on the first two rows for both races. I’m also glad I’m not on pole for race two as it can be difficult to get the car away cleanly because of the dip there…”
Rivett added: “That’s exactly where we need to be for our championship – we had a few problems in free practice yesterday but all that’s fixed and now we’ve shown we are right on the pace. Andas you know, I always race better than I qualify.”
Coates continued: “That was slightly frustrating after being fastest in free practice. I made a bit of a mistake when I was on a better lap and then Bradley, right in front of me, had a slide when I was on another flier. But at least we are up there.”
Leading times, Qualifying, Round 17, Renault UK Clio Cup, Brands Hatch GP
1. Daniel Rowbottom (DRM), 1m38.136s / avg. 89.26mph
2. Jack Young (MRM), +0.032s
3. Bradley Burns (Team Pyro), +0.086s
4. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), +0.094s
5. Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport), +0.178s
6. Brett Lidsey (MRM), +0.236s
7. Max Coates (Team Pyro), +0.344s
8. Nick Reeve (Specialized Motorsport), +0.451s
9. Michael Epps (Matrix Motorsport), +0.476s
10. Dan Zelos (WDE Motorsport), +0.620s
CLICK HERE for full times.
Leading times, Qualifying, Round 18, Renault UK Clio Cup, Brands Hatch GP
1. Jack Young (MRM), 1m38.187s / avg. 89.21mph
2. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), +0.115s
3. Bradley Burns (Team Pyro), +0.138s
4. Daniel Rowbottom (DRM), +0.196s
5. Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport), +0.342s
6. Max Coates (Team Pyro), +0.399s
7. Brett Lidsey (MRM), +0.425s
8. Michael Epps (Matrix Motorsport), +0.473s
9. Nick Reeve (Specialized Motorsport), +0.508s
10. Dan Zelos (WDE Motorsport), +0.590s
CLICK HERE for full times.