Jake Cook has put himself right into the mix for the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Winter Championship title with a pair of victories in Rounds Three and Four at Snetterton.
Matthew Graham took both wins on the opening day in Norfolk, but was unable to replicate that performance on day two as Cook burst to the fore to cap off a strong debut weekend in the F4 series in style.
The 2012 Formula Ford GB vice-champion started the day in perfect fashion, putting his Hillspeed-prepared machine on pole position for the opening race in the morning’s qualifying session.
A slow getaway from the line though meant Cook was down in third by the time the field hit Riches for the first time in race one, with Graham storming into the lead ahead of Sennan Fielding.
Contact between the front two at Agostini though sent Graham spinning down the order, with Fielding briefly holding the lead before Cook grabbed the lead at Murrays at the end of the opening lap.
As Cook began to surge into the distance, Fielding slipped to second behind Falco Wauer on lap two. After briefly losing the place back a lap later after a mistake, Wauer regained the spot on lap five, with Fielding losing further ground to Matteo Ferrer on the next lap.
Cook meanwhile was cruising to a comfortable 7.4 second victory over Wauer, the latter taking his second podium of the weekend, while Ferrer maintained third for his first F4 rostrum finish on his debut weekend.
Fielding held off Pietro Fittipaldi in the latter stages to take fourth at the flag, while a recovering Graham passed Will Palmer on the final lap for sixth. Dimitris Papanastasiou and Fredrik Johansen completed the finishers.
The final race of the weekend saw the drivers competing on slick rubber for the first time, and Cook used that to his advantage. A great start giving him the lead into Riches for the first time from Wauer, with a fast-starting Graham meanwhile shot up two place into third.
Cook’s chances of making an early break were dashed though when the safety car emerged at the end of the opening tour following a spin into retirement for Ferrer.
A strong restart at the start of lap four saw Cook break a gap to the pack that they would never close. While Wauer kept the leader within sight, he couldn’t get close enough to launch an overtaking attempt, allowing Cook to cruise home for victory.
While the top two ran in formation throughout, the battle for third went down to the wire. Graham held it for the majority of the race, however the slightest of mistakes on the final lap allowed Palmer to snatch a maiden single-seater podium on his first weekend in the series.
Graham just fended off a charging Fielding for fourth, the duo split by just 0.145s across the line. Fielding had passed Fittipaldi earlier on the final lap for fifth, the Brazilian left to settle for sixth ahead of Johansen and Papanastasiou.
Cook’s double win means Graham now holds a slender two point lead at the top of the standings from Cook and Wauer ahead of the final four races of the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Winter Championship at Brands Hatch on November 23/24.
Provisional 2013 BRDC Formula 4 Winter Championship Standings (After Rd. 4 of 8):
1. Matthew Graham, Douglas Motorsport – 93pts
2. Jake Cook, Hillspeed – 91pts
3. Falco Wauer, Enigma Motorsport – 91pts
4. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport – 79pts
5. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport – 70pts
6. Pietro Fittipaldi, MGR Motorsport – 66pts
7. Fredrik Johansen, Chris Dittmann Racing – 52pts
8. Dimitris Papanastasiou, Hillspeed – 40pts
9. Matteo Ferrer, MGR Motorsport – 34pts