It was Dan Thackeray who lines up on pole after an intense qualifying session at Cadwell Park. Preparing for the opening round of the year, the MJ Motorsport driver set a 1min 37.940 to lead 2020 Milltek Civic Cup runner-up Alistair Camp.
It was Morgan Bailey setting the early pace in his brand-new 2021 built Civic EP3. A long lap at the Cadwell Park circuit meant that getting up to speed was essential as overtaking would likely be limited at the tight and twisty Lincolnshire circuit.
Practice pace setter Dan Thackeray was eager to set his mark early on, temporarily jumping to the top in the brisk but dry conditions, before the young George Alp-Williams took the advantage. 2020 runner-up Alistair Camp joined the fight for pole early on with only two tenths separating the trio as the drivers approached half distance.
Fortune would not be on the side of Matt Luff in the early stages as he was forced to slow down at Mansfield with technical problems. The #72 was quick to improve after a reset, before another gremlin reduced his running. The positioning of the pitlane at Cadwell meant that unlike in normal sessions, chances to change tyres was limited ensuring many drivers had to preserve their running until the track had rubbered in.
With 5 minutes to run, Thackeray was determined to lay his marker on the grid, becoming the first driver to drop below the 1min 38sec mark, setting a 1min 37.940 ahead of Camp. Two minutes later Alp-Williams responded, but like his Area Motorsport teammate was unable to break Thackeray’s grasp on the lead. Alp-Williams remains with the Area Motorsport team for 2021, running the car alongside Advanced Fire Technology Racing.
Thackeray took early bragging rights in the Civic EP3, as Camp was forced to settle for second after a late improvement pushed him ahead of the teenager.
In fourth would be Jamie Tonks. The #4 ensures Area Motorsport lock out three of the first four grid slots after Tonks recorded a time of 1min 38.595, so could yet be a great addition to the front of the grid battle come the opening race. He will line up ahead of Luff and Bailey who will be aiming to make an impression.
Heading the fourth row would be Ryan Bensley in the #7. After a partial season in 2020, he along with the experienced David Buky in tenth will be eager to avoid trouble in the opening corners. The pair will be split by new entrant Phillip Wright and #77 Ryan Dalzell in his distinctive Yellow Civic. Rounding out the top 12 is Ross Darlington and Chris Mullen.
In the Production class it was the story of the Threlfall brothers, as Harry and Alfie Threlfall traded times throughout the session, with the elder brother of Harry maintaining his advantage for much of running.
However a late run by Alfie saw him shoot to the top with a 1min 43.500. He was not the only Production Class runner to improve on his final tour, being joined on the front row by MJ Motorsport co-owner Mervyn Beckett. The practice pace setter was a mere 0.24 seconds behind, with a similar gap to Harry Threlfall who dropped to third.
Elsewhere in the class, the #97 of Nick Charlier was forced to pit during the mid-part of qualifying, thus rounding out the 26-car grid. Expect more from him during the race. He’ll be hoping to cut his teeth with Peter Dell who lined up fourth ahead of Mark Hughes and Rhys Lewis.
Full Results can also be found on TSL Timing.