The Renault UK Clio Cup will make its first trip to Knockhill for four years this weekend, with Josh Cook leading a season-high grid of fifteen cars north of the border as the series heads into the business end of the 2014 season.
A double win last time out at Snetterton has extended Cook’s lead at the top of the championship standings to 34 points with three meetings of the season remaining, starting in Scotland with a double-header around the unique 1.3 mile Knockhill track.
Cook was the star man last time out at Snetterton as the series returned from its five week summer break, with the SV Racing ace dominating the weekend with a pair of race victories. That makes it five for the season for the KX Akademy member, and he’ll be hoping for more to edge himself closer to title glory.
James Colburn currently lies second in the standings for Westbourne Motorsport having kept in touch with Cook with a podium finish at Snetterton. The experienced Clio racer heads to Scotland with race wins in his sights, and has the advantage of being one of only three drivers in the field to have competed at Knockhill in the Clios in the past.
The other two are Clio Cup veterans Lee Pattison and Paul Rivett. Pattison was a double podium finisher at Knockhill four years ago, while three-time champion Rivett won at the circuit during the series’ last visit before that in 2006.
Team Pyro’s Pattison currently holds a 67 point lead over WDE Motorsport’s Rivett in the Masters Cup, but both drivers’ focus will be on using their experience to take first outright race wins of the season to help their challenges for an overall top six points finish.
Having his sights on a much higher championship finish is Mike Bushell, who remains right in the thick of the title battle with reigning champions Pyro. The Vital Software-backed driver posted a double set of pole positions and fastest laps at Snetterton to confirm his pace, but knows he’ll now need to convert it into race wins to close the gap to Cook.
Jordan Stilp remains in the title picture despite a tough outing at Snetterton, the double Croft race-winner sitting 69 points behind Cook. Three points ahead meanwhile is Ant Whorton-Eales, the KX racer having kept in touch with three podium finishes in the last five races.
Whorton-Eales’ SV team-mate Alex Morgan looks out of contention 86 points adrift in sixth overall, and his focus is now on ending the season on a high with race victories, while fellow KX stablemate Ash Hand will head to Knockhill aiming to replicate his double podium-finish feat from Croft.
Devon Modell took a seasons-best fifth at Snetterton and a podium finish isn’t out the question, while Mark Howard, Craig Milner and Snetterton newcomer Paul Knapp will surely provide more close racing as they battle for top ten finishes.
The grid will be boosted to a season-high of sixteen with two new additions, the first being former Scottish Legends Car champion Jamie Clarke. The 34 year old will make his maiden appearance in the Clio Cup with SV Racing, and could spring a surprise after winning on his debut in the Michelin Clio Cup Series in November.
Former SV driver Finlay Crocker will make it two Scotsmen joining the grid with a one-off return to the championship with Team Pyro. Crocker stepped up from the UK series to the Eurocup Clio series this year, and his return will make it an all-time high of six cars in the Masters Cup class.
Qualifying for the weekend’s two races is scheduled to take place at 09.00 on Saturday, with Round 13 following at 15.50. Round 14 will be televised live on ITV4 at 12.30 on Sunday.