Josh Cook overcome an early challenge from SV Racing/KX Akademy team-mate Ant Whorton-Eales before taking a comfortable first victory of 2014 in the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup at a wet Donington Park.
Cook started the weekend’s opening encounter from pole position, however a great getaway from Whorton-Eales alongside him earned him the race lead into Redgate for the first time.
After contact on the run down the Craner Curves for the first time as field got adjusted to the grip levels in the rain, Cook managed to regain his advantage around the outside at McLeans.
From there, the Bristolian was to lead the remainder of the race with relative ease for his fourth career Clio Cup win.
“I saw that Ant [Whorton-Eales] got a really good practice start on the green flag lap, so I knew it would be questionable if I could be quickest off the line,” Cook told TCF. “I could have squeezed him out, but working as a team I let him back in.
“I got a good run out of the Old Hairpin and out-dragged him up into the McLeans. Then it was just about being as clean as I could over the next couple of laps and maintain the gap from there.”
Whorton-Eales meanwhile was left to defend his place late on from a hard-charging Mike Bushell. The Team Pyro ace came on as the race developed and grabbed second place through Redgate on the final lap.
A fight back from Whorton-Eales into McLeans led to contact, with the SV man showing great car control to stop himself from spinning. This gave Bushell a clear run to his second podium of the season in second, with Whorton-Eales forced to settle for third.
“It’s the first time I’ve been out in this car in the wet,” added Whorton-Eales. “I held second for the whole race, but Bushell was catching me, he’s always quick in the wet, so I kept plucking away.
“We got next to each other on the final lap and had a little touch up the top – there’s only one racing line up there and we both went for it. There was a moment I hit the lock stop and thought it would be really tough to pull it back, but I did and that third is what we needed, getting some points.”
Bushell had switched places with James Colburn a couple of times in the early stages, with the Westbourne Motorsport racer going on to take a comfortable fourth ahead of Jordan Stilp.
Alex Morgan finished sixth meanwhile, having lost a spot to Stilp at the chicane on lap nine. The championship leader also had to fend off a late charge from SV/KX team-mate Ash Hand as he continued to struggle with power issues.
Completing the top ten were Masters Cup winner Paul Rivett, Devon Modell and Lee Pattison. Rob Smith, Craig Milner and Mark Howard completed the finishers.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/141603cli.pdf