Grice and Pattison lead the way at Thruxton

Total Control Racing’s Tom Grice and JHR Developments’ Lee Pattison took their turns at the top of the timesheets in testing at Thruxton ahead of the third round of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK which takes place this weekend.

Rookie race driver Grice went fastest in the morning practice session with a 1min 24.197secs lap around the high-speed Hampshire circuit. “The team did a really good job,” he said. “The time just kept coming to me in the morning, even though we were running on old tyres. In the second session we couldn’t quite get the speed out of new tyres, but I think we can change the set-up so I’m feeling confident for tomorrow.”

Second fastest in the morning was Scuderia Vittoria’s Matt Alison, in his first full racing season since 2007. “We’re still blowing out the cobwebs, but after a late start to the season I’m happy to say that winter testing is officially over for me,” said Alison. “If I don’t get a podium this weekend I will be disappointed.”

The afternoon session saw Pattison fastest with a 1min 23.680secs. “I like Thruxton and we had good speed today,” he said. “The team has put together a great car for me and we were fast in the afternoon, even without using new tyres. Let’s hope it’s the same tomorrow in qualifying.”

Despite a tyre deflation induced moment in the session, second fastest from Pattison was Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn. “We changed our base set-up at Donington and it’s definitely been beneficial today,” he said. “I need to find a bit more speed in the chicane, but I’m happy with my performance today, even if going through Church corner at 120 mph with a puncture was a bit exciting!”

Another driver to have an eventful day was Nic Hamilton, who lost control of his car at the 100 mph Goodwood corner late in the morning session. “I just got the rear tyres off the racing line and on to the marbles and the car started to go round on me,” said Hamilton. “I kept my foot in, but it caught me out and there was a big impact. I’m alright, I just wish I’d been able to get more test time here as it’s a great track.”

Hamilton’s Total Control Racing team now face a race against time to prepare another car for tomorrow’s qualifying sessions. “We’ll do it one way or another,” said team boss Lee Brookes, “but it’s going to be a late night.”

AirAsia Renault Clio Cup action gets underway with tomorrow, Saturday 30th, with qualifying at 11:20 and race one starting at 16:25. Race two takes place at 12:50 on Sunday May 1 and can be seen live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.

Test times – am

1. Tom Grice Total Control Racing 1:24.197s G

2. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1:24.261s

3. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1:24.463s G

4. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:24.503s G

5. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:24.512s G

6. Lee Pattison JHR Developments 1:24.570s M

7. Chris Swanwick Team Pyro 1:24.743s

8. Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data/SVE 1:24.829s

9. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1:24.848s

10. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:24.931s


Test times – pm

1. Lee Pattison JHR Developments 1:24.570s M

2. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:24.512s G

3. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1:24.463s G

4. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:24.094s G

5. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1:24.261s

6. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:24.503s G

7. Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data/SVE 1:24.829s

8. Tom Grice Total Control Racing 1:24.197s G

9. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:24.931s

10. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1:24.848s

-ends-

About AirAsia Clio Cup

Each season drivers come from around the United Kingdom and internationally to compete in the thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing that the Renault Clio Cup demands. The Championship continues to be the UK’s premier one-make saloon-car championship. Using race cars based on the road-going Clio Renault Sport 200, the Championship continues to be a breeding ground for future Touring Car drivers. As a prominent support race on the British Touring Car Championship platform and benefiting from live, comprehensive and new for 2011, HD TV coverage on the ITV sport network, it remains the most direct link to the BTCC. Almost one third of the current BTCC grid graduated from the ranks of Renault Clio Cup UK http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx
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