BOOST FOR WINROW IN THRUXTON PRACTICE Joint ELF Renault Clio Cup leader Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) continued his excellent start to the season by setting the fastest time during official free practice at Thruxton on Monday, 7th April. The Team...
BOOST FOR WINROW IN THRUXTON PRACTICE
Joint ELF Renault Clio Cup leader Ben Winrow (Earls Barton) continued his excellent start to the season by setting the fastest time during official free practice at Thruxton on Monday, 7th April. The Team Pyro racer set a time of 1min 25.012s (99.76mph average) to edge out JHR Developments' Paul Rivett (Banstead), who stands level at the top of the drivers' standings, by 0.232s.
Due to local council noise restrictions at the 2.36-mile circuit, the usual custom of holding free practice on the Friday prior to the race weekend is forbidden. This means drivers will return to Thruxton in six weeks' time and go straight into qualifying for round seven.
The unpredictable April weather did not favour the Clio Cup competitors with snow showers and bitterly cold conditions not conducive to quick lap times. Grouped behind Rivett were Total Control Racing's Alex MacDowall (Carlisle), Mardi Gras Motorsport's Gavin Pyper (Fleckney), Y4HR Miracle Drywash Stancombe Vehicle Engineering's Niki Lanik (Ashurst Wood) and JD Pierce with Robertshaw Racing's Derek Pierce (West Kilbride), all covered by just over one-tenth of a second in a remarkable display of competitiveness within the championship.
EPS UK with Solutions Racing's Robert Gaffney (Waltham Abbey) and Full Speed Racing's Phil Glew (Tothill) lapped within one second of Winrow's leading time, while TCR's Jonathan Ridley-Holloway (Barnstaple) and Nick Adcock (Bromyard), making his return to Clio Cup racing after a two-year absence, completed the top 10.
The second session saw the sun make an appearance but not soon enough to provide fully dry conditions at the 2.36-mile Hampshire circuit. With the top three from session one all choosing not to set a time, Derek Pierce moved to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1min 25.743s (98.91mph).
Adcock bettered his earlier best time to lie second with 1min 26.495s (98.05mph), ahead of Pyper and Glew. Team Pyro's Chris Rice (Beverley) climbed to fifth-fastest ahead of Lanik, who was just 0.09s quicker than Full Speed's Glenn Bell (Portadown).
Double Six Racing's Rob Boston (Doncaster), Mardi Gras' David Dickenson (Keatingstown) and Solutions Racing with Dewsport's Alex Dew (Bampton) all ended their first official day of Clio Cup action at Thruxton in the top 10.
Commenting on setting the day's fastest time, Ben Winrow said: "I had a set plan for the day to prepare some tyres for the race meeting and have just six fast laps per session. Luckily we were able to get a good run in session one and get the job done and to finish with P1 is all you can ask for. After that there was no point risking the car ahead of Rockingham this weekend.
"Going straight into qualifying at Thruxton can be difficult and certainly favours those of us with more experience. You know there is a narrow window in which to set the time and you'll have an idea of how you want to run the session, but that could be disrupted by traffic or a red flag. After today I'm confident we'll be up there when we come back for the races."
Rounds three and four of the ELF Renault Clio Cup take place at Rockingham on 12th/13th April.