Mike Bushell continued his impressive start to the Snetterton race meeting with a double pole position in qualifying for Rounds Eleven and Twelve of the Renault UK Clio Cup.
The Team Pyro racer topped the timesheets in pre-event testing on Friday, and repeated the feat in qualifying with a best time of 2m 07.159s in his fourth-generation Clio racer.
Championship leader Josh Cook led the way at the halfway mark of the session as the majority of the field pitted for a change of tyres, with Paul Rivett, Bushell and Ant Whorton-Eales in close pursuit.
Bushell didn’t pit at that time, and went on to post the fastest time of all with ten minutes to go. After a quick change of one tyre soon after, he returned to the track for a late charge and after losing a new best due to track limits, he posted his best time of all with his final lap of the session.
“This is certainly the best way to start a weekend,” Bushell told TCF. “Yesterday was no fluke, it’s all come together and the car feels incredible. The hardest bit is yet to come though and if I’m being honest, all I want to do is beat Josh [Cook] in the races, I just need to finish ahead of him and gain as many points as I can.”
That time took the best second fastest honours, and race two pole position, from Cook. The SV Racing driver was left frustrated with traffic during the session, his best time of 2m 07.498s being 0.339s slower than Bushell, leaving him second on the grid for both races.
“The car was super-duper fast,” commented Cook. “We didn’t get the clear laps we needed though, a couple of the slower guys ignored the blue flags for almost whole laps. The pace was in the car for pole, but while I can’t really complain about P2 for both, it’s just annoying as I know I could have gone faster.”
Finishing the session third overall was Rivett, the three-time Clio champion enjoying one of his strongest qualifying performances of the season to finish within half a second of pole. Unfortunately for the WDE Motorsport driver, a two-place grid penalty from Croft mean’s he’ll start race one fifth.
This means SV Racing pair Alex Morgan and Whorton-Eales are promoted to third and fourth for the opening race, with both lapping within 0.553s of Bushell’s beknchmark time. Completing the top six meanwhile is double-winner from Croft last time out, Jordan Stilp.
Completing the top ten for race one was Lee Pattison, James Colburn, Charlie Ladell and Ash Hand, the latter will start twelfth for race one though as he also has a grid penalty from Croft. The top ten were separated by 1.405 seconds.
For race two, Rivett will start third behind Bushell and Cook, with Whorton-Eaes an improved fourth ahead of Stilp, Pattison and Colburn. Morgan is the driver to lose out in the field, starting a lowly eighth ahead of Hand and Ladelll.
Championship debutant Paul Knapp enjoyed an impressive first qualifying session in his JamSport-prepared Clio meanwhile, finishing ahead of series regulars Mark Howard and Craig Milner for eleventh and twelfth places starts.
Full qualifying results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/143103cli.pdf