SV Racing’s Josh Cook followed up a strong podium finish in the opening weekend of the 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup at Brands Hatch with the fastest time during official TOCA testing at Thruxton yesterday (9th April).
The test day served as the official TOCA pre-event running ahead of the BTCC meeting at Thruxton on 3/4 May, instead of the usual Friday test day on the eve of the weekend as utilised at the other venues on the calendar.
Only ten of the thirteen drivers that took to the grid for the opening meeting at Brands Hatch two weeks ago were present for the test, with Ash Hand, Craig Milner and Mark Howard missing from action.
After bedding himself in during the morning session, in which he set the sixth quickest time, KX Akademy member Cook upped the pace in the afternoon to top the timesheets with a best lap of 1m 24.110 seconds, 0.337 seconds fastest than his nearest rival.
“We’ve got the pace, as long as you’re somewhere near the front at Thruxton you’re OK so I’m happy with today,” said Cook. “I’m happy to be fastest today but we were in this position at Brands during the test there, then in qualifying the intercooler pipe came off. We’re certainly in the right place and we just need to keep trying to bag the points for the championship.”
Like Cook, the majority of the drivers in the test set their fastest time in the afternoon run, and setting the second best effort was Mike Bushell. The Team Pyro ace finished up a mere 0.001 seconds ahead of JHR Developments’ Lee Pattison.
Only 0.004 seconds further back was championship points leader Alex Morgan, the double race-winner at Brands finishing up 0.158s ahead of triple Clio champion Paul Rivett, the top five separated by just half a second.
Sixth quickest was James Colburn, who was one of only two drivers to set their best efforts in the morning session. The Westbourne Motorsport driver topped that session, but was unable to run in the afternoon after a unfortunate late excursion caused heavy damage to his fourth-generation Clio.
“It’ll be an all-nighter getting the car fixed as we’ve got another test coming up,” he explained. “The signs were good this morning, we fixed the problem we had in the first round and it was all looking OK. I came out of the complex and it was really bizarre, the car just twitched as soon as I turned – I caught it but a wheel went on the grass, which was wet, and the car went straight into the barriers.”
Ant Whorton-Eales completed the KX/SV trio on track in seventh, 0.712 seconds slower than his team-mate Cook, with Rob Smith, Devon Modell and Jordan Stilp completing the order.
The 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup continues next weekend at Donington Park, with rounds three and four taking place over Easter Weekend (19/20 April), before the teams and drivers return to Thruxton for the next two races on May 3/4.