Paul Rivett and Ash Hand shared the pole positions in Renault UK Clio Cup qualifying at Croft, in a session that saw championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales fail to set a lap time after suffering an early high-speed off.
Three-time Clio champion Rivett set the pace in the thirty minute session, the WDE Motorsport man posting a best lap of 1m 32.348s to head Ashley Sutton by just 0.072s for pole position for the weekend’s opening race – with Sutton edging out Rivett for the front-row slot for race two.
Hand took third for that race with a last gasp lap, which helped turn his second best lap into the pole time for race two, with those positions putting him in prime position to leave the weekend with the championship lead.
That’s because Whorton-Eales is set to start both races from seventeenth, his session coming to an end on his first flying lap after a run wide at the chicane ended with him being pitched across the track and into the barriers.
Whorton-Eales’ SV Racing team are in a race against time to get his Clio repaired in time for the opening race, though there is happiness across the awning with Jack Mitchell picking up fourth on the grid for both races.
Charlie Ladell took his best qualifying result of the season so far with a pair of sixths, a feat also matched by JamSport’s Tom Grundy who secured eighth and ninth, his highest starts of the campaign so far.
There was disappointment for Jordan Stilp however, the double Croft pole-sitter and race-winner from twelve months ago left unable to match his heroics this time around, the 20Ten Racing ace left to settle for seventh on the grid for both.
His team-mate Peter Felix set the pace in the Masters Cup on his return to the series after two years away, with class leader Mark Howard second in class for both races. Fellow series returnee this weekend Paul Donkin took fourteenth and thirteenth for the two encounters.
Full qualifying results can be found here.