Alex Solley made the most of his past experience around the fastest circuit on the calendar to snare pole for the third meeting of the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE Trophy season at Thruxton.

Solley scored his first pole in the series at the circuit back in 2021 and has picked up multiple wins, including a double last season at the wheel of his Graves Motorsport-run car.

Making the most of the slipstream available during the session, Solley posted both the best time to snare pole for the third race of the weekend, as well as the best second fastest time to ensure he will also lead the field away at the front in race one.

“It all came together and the tow helped when I needed it as well as getting the chicane right,” he said. “The bonus there is that I have the points for pole but I know how hard it can be to lead from the front here – it’s going to be hard.”

Behind Solley, Rhys Hurd produced his best qualifying result of the season to date for Chandler Motorsport as he went second fastest, with his second best time also good enough for second on the grid for the opening race.

The reigning Rookie Cup champion will however drop down the order due to a four place grid penalty carried over from Pembrey last time out, which will instead promote points leader Harry Hickton up onto the front row for the opening race.

“We had an issue with the engine after Snetterton that we’ve been working to fix,” Hurd said. “We’ve come here and put the car at the front which is good, and even with the penalty in race we can do well from P6 with the speed we have. It’s almost good for me that we have more cars in front for the tow!

“I have to stay consistent this weekend and try to stay inside the top three for the points, so that’s what I’ll aim to do and we’ll see what happens.”

The Westbourne Motorsport driver has more work to do in the final race of the weekend however, with his fastest lap being back in P6, with Sam Gornall, James Black and Alex Keens all ahead of him on the times.

The trio will slot in behind him on the grid for are one, with Black in third spot from Gornall and Keens.

Rookie Cup leader Ronnie Smith was tenth quickest, with the leading Director being John Castle in 15th. Series returnee Mick Fitzgerald ended up with the 26th best time, ahead only of Frankie Taylor as he struggled with an apparent engine issue.

Multiple drivers would fall foul of track limits during the session, with former champion Matt Hammond having no fewer than six laps removed for exceeding the limits to leave him down in 21st place.