NICKY TAYLOR FLIES IN TO GRAB MAIDEN POLE
Despite only flying in from Florida on Saturday morning, Nicky Taylor emerged on top of the times to grab his maiden Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE pole position on home soil at Snetterton.
The Graves Motorsport driver – clearly buoyed by a break in the Sunshine State – made the most of his local knowledge with a storming lap in cold conditions that saw him dip below the previous qualifying lap record.
Taylor’s best time of 2:19.438s was more than two-tenths of a second clear of team-mate Jack Byrne to leave him in the ideal position to try and open his win account for the season.
“That’s been a pretty decent start,” he said. “I got back this morning at 6 o’clock and drove from Heathrow to get in the car so I’m a bit tired! When I saw a 19.4 come up I knew it was a good lap, and it’s great to have pole.
“It took a few laps for the car to come in with the cold weather and it really suited me, it felt great. Now I can have a sleep ready for race one!”
Second on the grid for Byrne matched his result from round one at Brands Hatch, with Reece Lycett scoring third on the grid as the best-placed of the rookie contingent for Chandler Motorsport.
“That’s an incredible achievement in my second weekend,” he said. “We struggled a bit with heat in the tyres but got there in the end and set my fastest lap. I think there was more time to find, and we can have a good race.
“Being such a long lap, you can soon be on the back foot so you need to be precise and not make any mistakes. We’ve done that and it got us P3.”
Two more rookies followed behind to round out the top five, with Lycett’s team-mate Rhys Hurd in fourth and Westbourne Motorsport’s Max Hall close behind.
Points leader coming into the weekend, Tom Ovenden, endured a more challenging session with a spin at Coram leaving him down the order at the mid-way point.
The EXCELR8 driver would improve late on to move up into the top six ahead of Alex Solley, with the top ten completed by James Black, Sam Gornall and Harry Hickton.
Lee Pearce and Nathan Edwards were amongst the fancied runners to find themselves out of position down in 14th and 17th place, with Frankie Taylor also having work to do from 23rd.
Paul Manning and Mick Fitzgerald both failed to set representative lap-times at the back of the field alongside Katia Loggie, who brought her car in at the end of the session nursing front-end damage.
Harvey Riby also sustained damage with a trip off track at Palmers, which left him 16th on the times.