MAX HALL SCORES MAIDEN POLE AT THRUXTON
On the back of a double win last time out at Snetterton, Max Hall secured a maiden pole position in the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy after topping the times ahead of round three at Thruxton.
The Westbourne Motorsport driver headed team-mate Harry Hickton in the half-hour session used to determine the grid for the opening race of the weekend, with his best time coming towards the end of his first run.
The two rookies would work in tandem to try and benefit from the tow around the fastest circuit on the calendar, and work carried out in Friday’s testing would pay off as Hall led the way by two-tenths of a second.
“Team work is important round a circuit like that and we got the strategy nailed in practice and it worked out well in qualifying,” he said. “Using the slipstream isn’t something we needed to do in Junior Saloons, so we had to work on it yesterday and it all paid off.
“I like the circuit with its high speed but I think I might have to go defensive in the race to now keep people behind. Whatever happens, I’ve had a good qualifying and it gives me momentum to take into race one.”
Second on the grid for Hickton marked his personal best qualifying result – again after a strong showing last time out at Snetterton – with Alex Solley rounding out the top three.
Solley, a previous winner at Thruxton, is the driver who has scored the most points before drops are taken into account this season having finished inside the top six in every race.
“I’m not a fan of being on pole here as I’ve done it before and know how it ended up,” he said. “It would have been nice to get on the front row but I’m happy with third.
“The two ahead seem to be quick and they will know how Thruxton works despite being rookies, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Solley was followed on the times by two more rookies in the shape of Reece Lycett and Rhys Hurd, with Tom Ovenden rounding out the top six.
Ovenden would work with team-mates Nathan Edwards and Gabe Fairbrother throughout the session in his bid to try and snare pole but would end up six-tenths of a second off the pace, with Snetterton winner Nicky Taylor and his Graves Motorsport partner James Black just behind.
Paul Manning and Ben Jenkins rounded out the top ten, with laps within 0.004s of Black to show the close nature of the midfield fight.
Title hopeful Jack Byrne is amongst the drivers with work to do in race one having qualified back in twelfth place – the first time this season he has failed to make it onto the front row of the grid.