Josh Cook produced a superb defensive display to fend off half a dozen rivals and secure his maiden win in the AirAsia Renault Clio Cup UK in Round 13 at Silverstone.
With the early morning fog still lingering in the air, slippery track conditions caught out a number of front-runners during the race, including championship protagonists Paul Rivett and Jack Goff, the duo coming to blows early on.
A dominant performance in qualifying saw Rivett take pole for the race, but a slow getaway saw him get jumped off the line by Adam Bonham, with Rivett just managing to hold on to second. Rivett tried to fight back at Maggotts and dived for the lead, but the three-time champion ran wide, falling to eleventh.
Later in the lap the lead changed too, with Cook working his way into the lead. Bonham held second briefly before James Dixon squeezed his way past at Maggotts on lap two, with Goff following him through.
Their advantage was short-lived though, with Dixon and Goff producing synchronised slides at Brooklands, with Stefan Hodgetts benefitting to force his way into second. Dixon recovered to third ahead of Bonham, Ant Whorton-Eales and Goff, though Whorton-Eales quickly dispatched Bonham for fourth at Maggotts on lap three, the latter sliding wide and dropping to seventh.
Behind, Rivett had worked his way back up to eighth and was soon on Goff’s tail after the championship leader lost two spots with a slide at Maggotts on lap six. The subsequent loss of momentum bunched the pack up heading down the Wellington Straight, with Rivett making a move around the outside into Brooklands.
Goff pushed his title rival wide, forcing Rivett to take to the grass heading into Luffield, resulting in contact between the two heading into the right hander. Rivett ran wide, falling to tenth, while Goff slipped to twelfth after a short slide into the edge of the gravel.
At the front, Cook had built up a lead of over two seconds, but the rookie was soon caught up by the experienced Hodgetts, with a five car train soon developing behind the leader. Hodgetts got his nose inside the leader at Maggotts on lap fifteen, but couldn’t manage to squeeze past, in the process nearly losing a spot to Whorton-Eales instead, the latter having passed Dixon for third a few laps earlier.
Cook successfully completed the final three laps to take the win, securing the Rookie Cup honours in the process, with Hodgetts finishing just 0.209s behind in second. Whorton-Eales took third for his second podium of the season, with Dixon fourth.
A late move by Bonham saw him beat his Pyro team-mate Josh Files for fifth, while Rivett joined the back of the leading train in seventh but could not make any further progress, though with Goff just eleventh, the result still cuts the championship lead down to nine points.
Ignas Gelzinis took eighth ahead of Rob Smith, while James Colburn completed the top ten after a strong drive through from a disappointing sixteenth on the grid.