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Rowbottom heads Thruxton testing with staggering pace as top five eclipse race record

Daniel Rowbottom and Lee Pattison lapped comfortably within the qualifying record to head official Renault UK Clio Cup testing at Thruxton today.
  • Pattison-01.jpg (10)
  • Dorlin-02.jpg (1)
  • Rivett-01.jpg

Team Pyro’s Rowbottom lapped the high speed 2.36-mile Hampshire circuit – the fastest track on the calendar – in a staggering time of one minute, 21.460 seconds. That’s an average speed of 103.89mph.

WDE Motorsport’s Pattison, twice a winner in the past at Thruxton, was next up with a best lap of 1m22.013s.

That compares with the existing qualifying record – set by Mike Bushell last year – of 1m22.207s. This still stands as officially the fastest ever lap in UK Clio Cup history in terms of average speed…

Rowbottom said: “I’m very happy with how we got the car working and I actually set my best time without a tow which always gives you a bit more speed around here.

“I’ll admit I was a bit touch and go with the track limits through the chicane at the end of the lap because I made an error under braking, but up until then I’d been ‘purple’ (fastest of all) in sectors one and two so I’m confident we’d have been P1 whatever anyone else did.”

Meanwhile Westbourne Motorsport’s James Dorlin, who took his maiden Clio Cup race win at Thruxton in 2017, was third fastest on 1m22.496s ahead of WDE’s Paul Rivett, the current championship leader, on 1m22.647s.

Westbourne’s James Colburn was fifth on 1m22.731s to make it five drivers also underneath the existing race lap record of 1m22.777 (set last year by WDE’s Dan Zelos).

Interestingly, it had been a Westbourne 1-2 in the first of the day’s two sessions with Dorlin just ahead of Colburn – the latter the only driver out of 16 present not to then improve on their time during the afternoon running.

Pyro trio Jack McCarthy, Zak Fulk and Max Coates followed as Zelos and another Pyro driver, Bradley Burns, completed the top ten. Matrix’s Michael Epps was 11th and MRM’s Brett Lidsey 12th. Notably, data analysis later showed that had Lidsey strung together his best three sector times in one lap he would have been fifth fastest outright…

The Clio Cup races at Thruxton next month (Sat 19/Sun 20 May). Its next rounds meanwhile are at the Donington Park circuit on Sat 28/Sun 29 April.

After the opening two rounds, held last weekend at Brands Hatch, Rivett leads the standings by three points from Coates with Epps and Pattison tying for third.

Leading times, Official Testing, Renault UK Clio Cup, Thruxton, 12 April 2018
1. Daniel Rowbottom (Team Pyro), 1m21.640s
2. Lee Pattison (WDE Motorsport), +0.373s
3. James Dorlin (Westbourne Motorsport), +0.856s
4. Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport), +1.007s
5. James Colburn (Westbourne Motorsport), +1.091s
6. Jack McCarthy (Team Pyro), +1.128s
7. Zak Fulk (Team Pyro), +1.339s
8. Max Coates (Team Pyro), +1.432s
9. San Zelos (WDE Motorsport), +1.443s
10. Bradley Burns (Team Pyro), +1.450s
11. Michael Epps (Matrix Motorsport), +1.508s
12. Brett Lidsey (MRM), +1.547s
CLICK HERE for full times.

Pics: Jakob Ebrey Photography