Mike Bushell made it five consecutive Renault UK Clio Cup pole positions with top spot in the penultimate qualifying session of the season at Rockingham, championship contender Josh Cook ending that run by taking pole for the second race of the weekend.
Cook had led the session for a long period before Bushell nudged him to second in the times with seven minutes to go thanks to a best lap of 1m 30.384 seconds.
Cook finished up second on the timesheets, however the championship leader will start the opening race back in twelfth due to a ten place grid penalty from the last meeting at Knockhill.
That gives Bushell a prime opportunity to make another dent in Cook’s championship lead, however for the second race of the weekend Cook will have the advantage, though Bushell will be joining him on the front-row of the grid.
“That’s three events in a row now we’ve had pole, I’ve just got to make it count in the race,” sad Bushell. “[Josh] Cook had the legs on me yesterday, but we’ve hit back today and I’m definitely edging forward. The important thing is to keep Cook behind me, I’ve got to capitalise on his penalty.”
Foggy conditions meant the majority of the field elected to pit early, the only car lapping at the end being Ant Whorton-Eales. The SV racer briefly looked set to snatch pole late on after setting an overall best first sector time, however he could only post the third best time, giving him second on the grid for race one.
Alex Morgan capped off a strong session for the SV/KX to put himself third on the grid for the opener, with James Colburn close behind, the original top five in the times being split by four tenths of a second.
Jordan Stilp completed the top six ahead of Ash Hand and Masters Cup contenders Lee Pattison and Paul Rivett, the latter’s WDE Motorsport team-mate Charlie Ladell rounding out a top ten split by 0.812s.
Devon Modell will line up tenth for the race one, with newcomer Simon Horrobin to share row six with SV team-mate Cook. Mark Howard and another debutant Daniel Holland complete the grid, the latter having only completed two laps after an early visit to the Tarzan gravel.
For the second race of the weekend, Colburn will line up third ahead of Stilp, Whorton-Eales and Rivett, with Morgan being the main driver to lose out with the second best times, slipping to eighth on the grid for race two alongside team-mate Hand. Pattison, Ladell, Modell, Howard, Horrobin and Holland complete that grid.