Colburn and Smith on top at Snetterton

James Colburn took pole for race one Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn edged out Aron Smith’s Team Pyro prepared Clio, to take his first pole position of the season at the new Snetterton 300 circuit today. However, it was Smith who took pole for race two from local driver, Matt Allison (Scuderia Vittoria).

With a drying track providing the perfect setting for qualifying, the drivers were constantly bettering their lap times, and every lap brought a new provisional pole-sitter. Halfway through qualifying, the session was stopped because of oil dropped on the circuit, but after a short five minute break, the session resumed with the majority of cars taking to the circuit.

“It was a good session for us today,” said Colburn, who currently sits in fourth position in the championship race. “Half way through the session oil got put down on the track so we had to manage our way around the red flag situation as we lost a fresh set of tyres.

“When the session resumed I managed to hook up a great lap which puts me into a good position going into the race this afternoon.”

Colburn didn’t have it all his way though. For the majority of the session it was Norwich based driver, Allison that topped the timesheets. Allison qualified fourth for race one and second for race two.

“I think that today’s qualifying session was quite positive actually,” said Allison. “The first half of the session we were top. The fact that the oil came out enabled us to save some tyres and sit in the pits.

“I didn’t think the time that we did was going to be quick enough for pole; I knew that we would have to go for another run but I’m still very happy as its very close on the grid today.”

Regularly troubling Colburn and Allison was Aron Smith. Currently second in the championship standings, Smith, who won both the races at Thruxton was consistently lapping the new 2.99 mile circuit in the low 2:09s, which then saw him take pole position for race two.

“I was going well before the oil came out,” said Smith. “I came back into the pits and had a few calming words to myself, got back out on track and strung together two or three competitive laps when it all mattered. I’m absolutely delighted with the way it the times came together especially after the homework that I did last night.”

Smith’s Team Pyro teammate, Jack Goff qualified third for both races with a late effort, which saw him jump title contenders James Dixon and Paul Rivett.

“We went out on new tyres and unfortunately I only managed one lap on them before the oil came down,” said Oulton Park winner Goff. “When the session resumed we let a few cars go back out on track to clean the oil first then I followed suit to see what we could do. We went first for a while and then on the last lap we finished third but I am still happy.”

Fans get their very own opportunity to head to Kuala Lumpur thanks to series title sponsor AirAsia, as one competing Clio will be carrying the name of an AirAsia destination on its visor strip. Email this destination to to be entered into the draw to win two return flights from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.

Round eleven of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup Championship begins tomorrow at 17:05 tonight and round twelve begins at 11:15 tomorrow. Race two can be viewed live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.

Round eleven top ten qualifying times
1. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 2:08.937 (G)
2. Aron Smith Team Pyro 2:09.220 (G)
3. Jack Goff Team Pyro 2:09.228 (G)
4. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.230
5. James Dixon Total Control Racing 2:09.368 (G)
6. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 2:09.395
7. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.425 (G)
8. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 2:09.686 (G)
9. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 2:09.698 (G)
10. Josh Files Team Pyro 2:10.066 (G)

Round twelve top ten qualifying times
1. Aron Smith Team Pyro 2:09.243 (G)
2. Matt Allison Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.272
3. Jack Goff Team Pyro 2:09.299 (G)
4. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 2:08.317 (G)
5. Paul Rivett Luminson Blue Square Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering 2:09.418
6. James Dixon Total Control Racing 2:09.557 (G)
7. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 2:09.610 (G)
8. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 2:09.732 (G)
9. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 2:09.791 (G)
10. Josh Files Team Pyro 2:10.108 (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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