Lee Pattison (Scholes) delivered one of his customary barnstorming Thruxton performances during qualifying for rounds five and six of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup at the Hampshire track this morning, Saturday, 3rd May, to secure pole position for both races.
On his first weekend competing with reigning champion squad Team Pyro, the 39-year-old well and truly put a problematic start to the 2014 campaign behind him with a stunning effort. His fastest lap of the half-hour session, 1m23.060 seconds (102.11mph), secured the round five pole by half a second while his second best time, 1m23.590 seconds, claimed the round six pole by 0.3 seconds.
“It’s nice to bounce back after the season I’ve had so far”, said the West Yorkshireman who won at Thruxton last year in the previous generation Renault Clio Cup car, “It was a two lap window, they give you a very grippy car to have the confidence to nail a lap and, luckily, I did get a bit of a tow off Mike [Bushell] as well.
“To be fair, when I saw the lap time I thought ‘how did I pull that one out’ but it was effortless, it just came together really nice so I’m well chuffed. Thruxton is a balls-out circuit, it rewards the brave as it were – this needs to be a turning point for us.”
Second on the grid for the first of Sunday’s races will be Pattison’s Pyro team-mate Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells), one of three drivers to have their quickest lap times disallowed after being adjudged to have exceeded track limits. Rapid from the outset, Bushell held pole position early on but ultimately had to settle for second and third on the two grids.
Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) posted a best time of 1m23.623 seconds (101.42mph), just 0.062 seconds shy of Bushell, to deliver his best showing of the season so far with third on the grid for round five along with an improved front-row start for round six thanks to a highly consistent second fastest time.
Alongside Colburn on the second row for round five will be Pyro’s Rob Smith (Telford), producing his best ever Thruxton qualifying performance in Renault Clios. He just edged out Westbourne’s Devon Modell (Maidstone) and SV Racing with KX duo Ash Hand (Nuneaton) and Josh Cook (Bath) – exactly 0.1 seconds covering Smith to Cook.
Three-time champion Paul Rivett (Banstead) will begin round five from eighth on the grid for WDE Motorsport ahead of SV Racing’s Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield). Championship leader Alex Morgan (Reading), meanwhile, will start race one from a disappointing 10th on the grid, three places behind chief rival Cook but ahead of 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury).
Behind Pattison and Colburn on the round six grid the order is Bushell, Modell, Cook, Hand, Smith, Whorton-Eales, Rivett, Morgan and Stilp with both encounters set to take place tomorrow, Sunday, 4th May, at the spectacular 2.35-mile Hampshire track.
Round five will get underway at 10.40 with round six – which will be screened live on ITV4, ITV4 HD and streamed online at the www.itv.com/btcc website – getting underway at 15.50.
The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd4):
1st Alex Morgan, 107pts; 2nd Josh Cook, 103pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 80pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd4):
1st Josh Cook, 114pts; 2nd Ant Whorton-Eales, 103pts; 3rd Rob Smith,96pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd4):
1st Paul Rivett, 124pts; 2nd Lee Pattison, 116pts; =3rd Mark Howard & Craig Milner, 94pts
Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd4):
1st SV Racing with KX, 228pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 145pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 130pts