Grice and Rivett in front at Croft

Total Control Racing’s Tom Grice and Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering’s Paul Rivett headed the time sheets in testing at Croft today ahead of rounds 9&10 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK this weekend.

Series rookie Grice went fastest in the morning session, setting a time of 1 minute 32.912s around the north east circuit. “I think that we’ve done a very good job today,” said Grice.

“Until this morning I had never been round this track so I’m really pleased with the progress made so far. I’m very confident going into the rest of the weekend and I think that realistically we could definitely aim for two podium places, even a win.”

Second fastest in the morning’s was Total Control Racing’s championship contender, James Dixon. Dixon, who is also tied on points with series veteran Rivett, goes into this weekend as the championship leader due to the number of races won this year.

“I think the session went very well for us despite the fact that the track was quite dirty due to a few people running wide in certain areas,” he said. “The weather forecast isn’t great for the rest of the weekend but rain or no rain; I expect to be at the sharp end of the pack.”

The afternoon session saw Rivett set a fastest time of 1 minute 32.696s. “I love coming to Croft and the fact that I have held the lap record here since 2008 shows that I have the pace round here,” he said.

“I am very confident of a front row position in qualifying tomorrow which I think I can turn into race victories by the end of the weekend. I certainly don’t want to have another weekend like Oulton Park two weeks ago.”

Team Pyro’s Aron Smith was second in the afternoon session. “I think that this is a brilliant track and I have had success here in the 2009 winter series,” said Smith. “I feel very confident ahead of this weekend. I have a great opportunity to get a good amount of points which would move me into contention with Dixon and Rivett.”

Other notable performances from the day came from Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn with a 1 minute 32.797s. Colburn is still chasing his first win in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup. “I’m quite happy with the way the sessions went today,” he said. “I made a mistake on my fastest lap so I definitely know that there is more to come this weekend. I’m really going to go for a win here this weekend.”

Whoever leaves this weekend with the championship points lead will win a luxury break for four to Kuala Lumpur thanks to title sponsor AirAsia. James Dixon has the joint equal points lead heading into this weekend and will be carrying an AirAsia holiday destination on his car. Email that destination to to stand a chance to win two return flights from Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.

Test times am
1. Tom Grice Total Control Racing 1.32.912s G
2. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1.32.921s G
3. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1.32.959s G
4. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1.33.003s G
5. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1.33.033s G
6. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1.33.080s G
7. Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data /Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 1.33.112s
8. Josh Files Team Pyro 1.33.154s G
9. Matt Alison Scuderia Vittoria 1.33.186s
10. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1.33.466s G

Test times pm
1. Paul Rivett Lumison BlueSquare Data /Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 1.32.696s
2. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1.32.769s G
3. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1.32.797s G
4. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1.33.055s
5. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1.33.173s G
6. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1.33.227s G
7. Josh Files Team Pyro 1.33.251s G
8. Chris Swanwick Team Pyro 1.33.293s G
9. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1.33.346s G
10. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1.33.470s G

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
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