Bonham and Dixon top the times at Rockingham

Adam Bonham was a new face on top of the timesheets © Jakob Ebrey

Team Pyro’s Adam Bonham and Total Control Racing’s James Dixon took their turns atop the timing monitors in testing at a cloudy and windy Rockingham Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend’s rounds 13&14 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK.

Bonham was fastest in the morning, with a 1min 30.749secs lap of the 1.94 mile circuit which proved to be the fastest time of the day.

“I’m really happy with the way testing has gone,” said Bonham “Looking ahead to the weekend I really feel that we have the pace to be up at the front, I’m hoping that I will be able to gain my first podium.”

Dixon went quickest in the afternoon with a 1min 30.821secs best, unable to better Bonham’s marker.

“Today has been a pretty decent day for us,” explained Dixon. “In the first session we didn’t do many laps at all, we decided that it would be best to just hold back and let everyone else do the work as I knew that the time was there.

“We used the same method in the second session, after making some minor changes to the car it was handling great and I managed to set the fastest time. I’m happy with today because I haven’t been P1 in practice for a while now.”

Dixon currently sits in third position in the standings, whilst points leader Paul Rivett languished outside the top ten in his Lumison BlueSquare Data / Stancombe Vehicle Engineering car. “Saving tyres,” was Rivett’s riposte to those questioning his tardy times.

For the championship’s penultimate meeting, a number of new drivers have joined the ranks, with a number of 2011 competition newbies in action.

Notably, Rockingham competition winner Mike Gibbons joins Stancombe Vehicle Engineering.

“Today has been quite eventful,” he said. “I took my first trip into the gravel in the morning but as the day went on things have picked up. “I‘m just getting to grips with the Clio Cup car, so I haven’t really been on the limit yet.”

On the hunt for a better time, David Dickenson is keen to show that he’s the real deal this weekend, driving for Team Pyro.

“I haven’t been in a car since last May, so it was just a case of sorting a few things out with the set-up and getting used to it again,” said Dickenson. “I have set myself the aim of qualifying in the top ten for tomorrow then it will just be a case of making up some places during the race.”

Making a return to the championship is JHR Developments, with championship returnee Rob Boston setting the second fastest time in the morning session. “Today has felt really good and it’s great to be back racing in the Clio Cup,” he said.

“It’s been a bit of a culture shock as I have driven rear wheel drive cars for the past three years, we only missed out on P1 this morning by a very small margin however, so I’m very happy with the way it has gone.”

At 20Ten Racing Limited, Andy Gorton raised eyebrows, not least his own.

“I have really surprised myself in testing here, I wasn’t expecting to be as close to the pace as I was,” explained Gorton. “It’s my first time at Rockingham and I feel that I have settled in quite well, we now have a solid base to work from for the rest of the weekend.”

Fans watching rounds 13&14 of the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK can win flights 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 airasiaclio@sro.co.uk to be entered into the draw to win two return flights from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK action gets underway at Rockingham on Saturday September 17th with qualifying at 11:20 and race 1 at 16:15. Race 2, televised live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD takes place on Sunday at 14:40.

Friday 16th September morning test times
1. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:30.749 G
2. Rob Boston JHR Developments 1:30.760
3. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:30.900 G
4. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1:30.930 G
5. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:30.956 G
6. Josh Files Team Pyro 1:31.042 G
7. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:31.277 G
8. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:31.299 G
9. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1:31.393 G
10. Ant Whorton-Eales Scuderia Vittoria 1:31.428 G

Friday 16th September afternoon test times
1. James Dixon Total Control Racing 1:30.821 G
2. James Colburn Westbourne Motorsport 1:30.873 G
3. Aron Smith Team Pyro 1:30.892 G
4. Luke Wright Scuderia Vittoria 1:30.915 G
5. Jack Goff Team Pyro 1:30.934 G
6. Jake Packun Get On Track Developments 1:31.022 G
7. Josh Files Team Pyro 1:31.143 G
8. Rob Boston JHR Developments 1:31.225
9. Ant Whorton-Eales Scuderia Vittoria 1:31.285 G
10. Adam Bonham Team Pyro 1:31.450 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 http://www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/cliocup/Default.aspx
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