Josh Smith scored a dominant first pole position of the year for the opening Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship amid changeable conditions at Croft.
Light rain hit the track at the start of qualifying and, despite the intensity of rainfall creeping up over the next 10 minutes, Smith continued to shave tenths off his fastest time after going quickest with his first attempt.
His 1m29.161s was untouchable, 0.592s faster than Kevin Mills Racing driver Michael Eastwell. The Spectrum racer was feisty out of the gate, passing both Team Dolan cars of Niall Murray and Matt Round-Garrido on track early in the session.
Californian driver Carter Williams was a surprising third, capitalising on the slippery conditions to set a 1m29.972s, 0.766s off Smith’s pace moments before a red flag was deployed.
As the rain increased, Cliff Dempsey Racing driver Nico Gruber went off exiting Clervaux, leaving him stranded in the gravel and his car requiring extraction by flatbed truck.
Drivers went out for sighter laps after the red flag was lifted but all but Clubman Post89 polesitter Richard Morris swiftly returned to the pits, with no hope of setting faster times.
B-M Racing driver Rory Smith will line up fourth for this afternoon’s first race, while Jack Wolfenden scored a rare top five qualifying spot for his Firman chassis, 0.831s off Josh Smith’s pole time.
Joey Foster had anticipated rain and gone for a wet setup for his Ray GR08, going sixth fastest. Round-Garrido was seventh, a mere 0.004s faster than National series returnee Jordan Dempsey.
Championship leader Niall Murray could only manage ninth, 0.968s off pole, while James Clarke completed the top 10 in his first appearance for Cliff Dempsey Racing.
|1||Pro||Josh Smith||Van Diemen||1m29.161s|
|8||Pro||Jordan Dempsey||Van Diemen||+0.895|
|9||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||+0.968|