Nathan Edwards proved to be the man to beat in qualifying at Silverstone after grabbing his maiden pole position in the Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE Trophy.

The EXCELR8 driver emerged from the 15 minute session around the short National circuit with a slender advantage over Sam Gornall at the head of the pack.

Gornall was the early pacesetter in his first session since switching to Westbourne Motorsport and had lowered the benchmark time down to a 1:11.091s when Edwards became the first driver to break the 1:11s mark.

A time of 1:10.968 was a fraction slower that the lap record held by Dominic Wheatley and it would prove to be enough to snare top spot despite Gornall improving his time late on to end up just 0.074s behind.

“It’s great to get pole and the car has been mint from the moment we hit the track,” Edwards said.

“However, I said to the team that this is one of the worst places to get pole because you have to punch a hole in the air for everyone else so the race will be tough, but we’ll give it a good go.”

Whilst pole marked the first time Edwards has scored pole, second on the grid also marked a personal best for Gornall to kickstart his new relationship.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “We’ve gone in with a new team and a new car and the end result is great. The change of scenery has helped me and the team has done a great job, as the result here shows.

“I think the race will be tough and no-one will break away, so it’ll be interesting.”

Points leader Tom Ovenden would end up with the third quickest time after edging out title rival Alex Solley on the time sheets.

Solley’s session wasn’t without drama as he suffered an issue with his car overheating in the assembly area before the start, resulting in him coming into the pits at the start to allow the team to investigate the problem and leaving him running out of sync with the rest of the pack.

Finally posting his first timed lap with just seven minutes to go, Solley would climb up the order and briefly moved ahead of Ovenden only for his rival to reclaim the spot late on; the pair ending up split by just 0.018s.

Harry Hickton posted the fifth best time ahead of James Black, with the Graves Motorsport racer being the last driver within half a second of pole position.

Gabe Fairbrother, Frankie Taylor, Rhys Hurd and Nicky Taylor rounded out the top ten.

Aside from Solley’s mechanical worries, Ashley Gregory would end up back in 25th place after being tipped into a spin at Becketts after contact from Reece Lycett – limiting her to just five laps – whilst there was a spin for Harvey Riby mid-way through at Brooklands.

Both Tommy Gilham and Sophie Wright are late withdrawals from the event.