Scuderia Vittoria’s Matt Allison scored a double pole as he mastered the conditions in a slippery mixed weather qualifying session for rounds 9&10 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK.
Allison notched up his first pole of the year for round 9, and followed it with pole for round 10 thanks to also having the quickest second fastest time.
Rain fell before the session started, but the track started to dry before further rain fell at the track in the north east. Drivers caught out by the difficult conditions included the two championship points leaders, James Dixon (Total Control Racing) and Paul Rivett (Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering) who both qualified outside the top ten for both of this weekend’s races.
It was a very happy Allison who emerged from the session. “I’m very pleased to be in pole for both races after what was a very eventful qualifying session,” he said. “I pushed hard very early on as I knew that track conditions would deteriorate rapidly. The car went very well for us today and felt very good to drive. I’m delighted for myself and the team and glad that I was able to also pass on my experience to Luke.”
Second for round nine this afternoon is second Scuderia Vittoria driver, Luke Wright.
“The conditions out there were very greasy out there so I’m delighted to be starting the race in second,” he said. “If I can make a good, clean start this afternoon then I am very confident of finishing in the top two on the podium.”
Lining up alongside Allison for round ten is Team Pyro’s Chris Swanwick. “It’s brilliant to be on the front row tomorrow and starting this afternoon’s race in third,” said Swanwick. “I feel that I am much stronger in the wet at the moment as I am still in my debut season in the series. I’m confident that I can get a good start this afternoon and stay with the front runners to challenge at the front.”
Fifth on the grid for this afternoon’s race with his season’s best qualifying, is TCR’s Mark Proctor. “I’m very happy with how the session went,” said Proctor.
“The car has felt really good here so far this weekend and to be honest I felt that I could have pushed a bit harder. It’s easy to say that now though but went we first went out at the start of the session I didn’t want to risk going off. I think that we can carry this great performance in the race this afternoon and I would like to be in a position to challenge for a podium place.”
There is the small matter of a luxury break for four in Kuala Lumpur up for grabs this weekend for the driver with the most points on the board at the end of round ten. Both joint points leaders heading into Croft had a torrid time of qualifying, with James Dixon lining up in 12th place today and 11th tomorrow, whilst Paul Rivett starts both races from last.
“That was a very disappointing qualifying session for us,” said Rivett. “We can’t really work out what happened but it was obvious that all the championship front runners were also struggling. For the race this afternoon, there will be no give on my part, I am definitely coming through this pack to the front and think that a top six is a very realistic aim.”
Round nine top ten qualifying results
1. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1:39.856s
2. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.448s G
3. Chris Swanwick Team Pyro 1:40.507s G
4. Tom Grice Team Pyro 1:40.659s G
5. Mark Proctor Total Control Racing 1:41.036s M
6. Craig Currie Team Pyro 1:41.267s
7. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:41.365s G
8. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:41.461s G
9. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:41.464s G
10. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:41.502s G
Round ten top ten qualifying times
1. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 1:40.548s
2. Chris Swanwick Team Pyro 1:40.987s G
3. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:41.174s G
4. Tom Grice Team Pyro 1:41.356s G
5. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:41.385s G
6. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:41.506s G
7. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:41.647s G
8. Craig Currie Team Pyro 1:41.692s
9. Josh Files Team Pyro 1:41.806s G
10. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:41.868s G