Dan Zelos maintained his 100 per cent pole record in the 2023 Vertu Motors MINI CHALLENGE after snaring top spot in qualifying for the penultimate meeting of the campaign at Silverstone.

Zelos has topped the times at the previous five events but it looked like his run may come to an end around the short Silverstone National layout as Nelson King put his Graves Motorsport-run car onto provisional pole.

At that stage going into the closing moment of the session, Zelos found himself sitting in second spot but the former champion was able to benefit from a tow from team-mate Oliver Meadows to make it six successive pole positions and score six further championship points to extend his advantage in the standings.

“We’ve had a great streak but I thought I might lose it here given the importance of the tow and stuff like that, and it was tough early on,” he said. “But I went out with Ollie towards the end and we worked together, and I got the lap in to secure pole.

“For entertainment purposes, this is the best place to come before Brands Hatch as no-one is going to be able to break away at the front and it’ll be exciting. We’ve certainly started on the right foot.”

King would end up just 0.065s behind in second place, with confidence high of a strong race as he looks to benefit from the experience of racing with a tow at Thruxton during his time in the Cooper class, whilst Will Orton slotted into third spot.

Orton, the closest rival to Zelos in the points, had suffered a scare early in the session when he found himself stuck in the pits as the Hybrid Tune team worked to resolve an issue on his car.

“I spent the first half of the session in the pits with a loose steering arm, so when I went out, I just needed to make sure I got a lap in,” he said.

“I didn’t really get a chance to try and get a tow as I was just focused on putting a time on the board but P3 is good. Now it’s a case of staying in the lead group in the race and being there to fight for the win at the end.”

Outside the top three, Meadows secured fourth place with a time just 0.006s slower than Orton with impressive newcomer Spencer Stevenson celebrating his first qualifying session with a fine run to fifth – albeit a quarter of a second down on the lead quartet.

James Griffith was the best of the Directors Cup in sixth place – marking his best qualifying result of the year by far – with Thomas Jack Lee and Josh Porter rounding out the top eight.

Elsewhere, the returning Sam Smith qualified in twelfth place – little over half a second off pole – which was one spot ahead of team-mate Joe Tanner, who has work to do from 13th as he bids to strengthen his top three championship position.