Josh Cook pounced on an error by team-mate Ant Whorton-Eales to take his third victory of the season in Round 7 at Oulton Park, extending his advantage at the top of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup standings to 33 points in the process.
SV Racing’s Whorton-Eales started the encounter from pole position, and a great start saw him lead the pack away. Lee Pattison maintained his front row placing, slotting into second, with Cook jumping James Colburn off the line for third.
The race was soon under the leadership of the safety car though, with a first lap incident for SV’s Ash Hand seeing him end the race in the Cascades armco, continuing a nightmare weekend for the KX Akademy member.
The race’s defining moment came at the restart on lap four, with Whorton-Eales just running wide at Old Hall and spinning around. He recovered down in twelfth, and with Pattison forced to slow in avoidance, Cook stormed through into the lead.
The championship leader pulled a gap of around half a second straight away, but as the race headed into its latter stages, Pattison went on a charge and closed right onto his bumper.
Despite Pattison’s best efforts though, Cook set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate tour en-route to a 0.347 second victory. JHR Developments’ Pattison took the Masters Cup honours in second, his first outright podium of the year.
“It was a tough race to be fair, Lee [Pattison] was really fast and put me under a lot of pressure,” Cook told TCF. “Ant [Whorton-Eales] and Lee were both a bit too committed going into Old Hall after the safety car, Ant went in too deep, dropped a wheel on the dirt and that just sent him round.
“It was just about securing the win from there for me. I struggled to pull a real gap from him. I managed to break at one point, but made a little mistake and he closed up. I managed to bring it home in the lead though, and I’m happy with how it’s all going at the moment.”
Colburn had a relatively lonely run to third, the Westbourne Motorsport ace not quite able to match the pace of the leading duo, but comfortably clear of a battling pack behind.
Heading the fight for fourth for a long time was Alex Morgan, but after a number of challenges, Mike Bushell finally found his way past at Old Hall two laps from the end to take fourth at the finish.
Morgan was left with Paul Rivett looming in his mirrors, but the 2012 vice-champion held him off for fifth, with Rivett completing the top six. Close behind was Jordan Stilp, with Devon Modell also right in the mix until he dropped to ninth on the final lap behind series debutant Charlie Ladell.
Whorton-Eales recovered from his moment to take tenth, with Mark Howard and Craig Milner once again completing the finishers.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/toca/2014/142303cli.pdf