Maiden pole but more setbacks for Nevill
Maiden pole but more setbacks for Nevill

Alex Nevill flew to his maiden pole position in round four of the Mini Challenge Cooper Trophy at Croft, before the Kent racer’s recent run of bad luck endured in both races last weekend.

Having set the pace in the opening practice session of the weekend, the Graves Motorsport driver went into the qualifying session with a great amount of confidence.

The confidence was justified early in the session, with the Motorsport UK Academy squad member setting the pole time on his fifth lap in the session. It was a great achievement in a highly competitive session, with the top 16 of the 29 car entry being separated by just one second.

From there all eyes were on race one which would be held in wet conditions. The 2018 Cooper Am champion got a good start and set about defending his lead straight away. But disaster struck soon after with the ABS system on the car failing as Alex entered the difficult Sunny In corner.

This resulted in a lock up which cost the #16 car the lead. A common issue on Minis which has seen many other competitors crash out of races this year, Alex was still able to finish the 20 minute race albeit finishing in fifth place after having to nurse the car home.

A top ten grid reversal for race two would see Alex start sixth and determined to make amends for the dramas in race 1. Working with new teammate Lee Pearce, the duo made progress early in the race before further drama hit Alex.

Whilst making a move for fourth place on lap tqo, Alex suffered contact with another car which the other driver was found guilty of causing a collision and penalised with 2 points on his license.

This was of little consolation to Alex though, as the impact caused a puncture on his front left tyre. The Graves Motorsport team were able to make some quick repairs which resulted in a 26th place finish.

Despite that, Alex still managed to move up another position in the championship to sixth place albeit 51 points away from the championship lead.

This means that Alex is one of 11 drivers heading into the final round at Donington Park with a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

Although disappointed at his latest run of bad luck, Alex was still able to see the positives from the weekend.

He said: “I’m gutted we couldn’t get our first win, but we have to be proud of pole position. We were fast in all conditions this weekend, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m looking forward to some time off now, and then we’ll go to Donington even stronger.”

The final round of the 2020 Cooper Trophy will be held at Donington Park on the 7th & 8th November.

Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey