Paul Rivett (Epsom) and Ash Hand (Nuneaton) qualified on pole position for the Renault UK Clio Cup’s latest two rounds at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit but championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) will start both races from the back of the grid after crashing early in the session.
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Rivett set the fastest time of all in one minute, 32.348 seconds to claim pole for race one which takes place later this afternoon (at 4.25pm). It is the first pole position in the Clio Cup for his WDE Motorsport team. Lining up second and third on that grid will be Team Pyro’s Ashley Sutton (Bishops Stortford) and his team-mate Hand.

However of the drivers’ second fastest laps which determine the race two grid order, Hand’s was the best (1m32.594s) giving him pole for that race which will take place tomorrow. Sutton will again start from second on the grid with Rivett in third.

SV Racing’s Whorton-Eales, though, never set a time after crashing on his first flying lap. Consequently he will be forced to start both races from the rear of the grid in a hastily repaired car with his main title rivals – Rivett, Hand and Sutton – well ahead at the front.

Triple champion Rivett commented: “I’m very happy of course but I did make an error on my first qualifying run which cost me maybe three tenths of a second – we should have been fighting for two pole positions. The main thing is we’re in the best possible position to keep taking points out of our rivals.”

Hand, winner of three of the last four races, added: “For some reason my car’s set-up just wasn’t right on my second run so my times were effectively done on my first run. It’s something we need to look at but we’re in good shape.”

And said Sutton: “I survived a huge spin on my first run on new tyres. My second run was much better so the front row of the grid for both races is just about perfect. You never want anyone to have a crash but obviously Ant’s incident potentially plays into our hands…”

Whorton-Eales said: “We’d put a very high grip set-up on the car for qualifying and exiting the Chicane it bit and kept turning left across the track. For a moment I thought I might have caught it but then bang – into the barriers. It’s a big hit and we’ve got a lot of work to do to repair it in time for this afternoon’s race. It could be an exercise in damage limitation.”

Meanwhile SVR’s Jack Mitchell (West Kingsdown), Pyro’s Brett Smith (Wellingborough) and Team Cooksport’s Charles Ladell (Ipswich) took fourth, fifth and sixth positions for both Croft grids while 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Towcester) – the winner of both races here 12 months ago – was seventh for each.

For Ladell the session was his most competitive to date as it was JamSport Racing’s Thomas Grundy (Dubai) who shared eighth and ninth places with team-mate Dan Holland (Dagenham) on the grids. Cooksport’s Rory Collingbourne (Newport, South Wales) took a pair of tenths.

Click here for both grids and full qualifying data.