Josh Cook heads into the final six rounds of the 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup with a 34 point lead at the top of the championship after completing a stunning Snetterton double with a dominant fifth win of the season in Round Twelve.
The championship leader benefitted from a stall on the line for Mike Bushell to have a clear run into the first corner, and after contact between Paul Rivett and Ant Whorton-Eales on lap two, the SV Racing ace was able to enjoy a fairly comfortable run to a four second win at the chequered flag.
“Mike [Bushell] stalled on the line which I can completely sympathise with, I almost stalled it myself and just got away,” Cook told TCF. “It was a fairly busy first lap but as soon as I got that little break I knew pull away. It might have looked comfortable at the front but I didn’t know how hard I could push, the brakes were a bit ropey and I was struggling a bit, but I kept it on the black stuff.”
Bushell’s lack of movement from the line caused some problems in the pack behind, with unfortunate contact sending Craig Milner spinning onto the grass and out of the race.
Ahead, Whorton-Eales slotted into second behind team-mate Cook. Rivett grabbed it away from at Montreal, with Whorton-Eales working his way back ahead at the next bend Palmer. Into Agostini, Rivett tried to get around the outside of both SV cars ahead, but was left to slot back into third.
The battle for second continued onto the next lap, with Rivett getting a good run out of Palmer. The WDE Motorsport racer aimed to dive down the inside at Agostini, but contact with the rear of Whorton-Eales Clio pitched him into a half-spin.
Both pulled out the corner in the same positions, but their coming together allowed Cook to break away. Rivett continued to hound Whorton-Eales over the next few laps before picking his move at Agostini on lap six, a cutback through the corner giving him the place into Hamilton.
From there, Rivett was able to fend off any challenges Whorton-Eales could produce, giving them their third and fourth podium finishes of the season respectively.
“It was a really good race,” commented Rivett. “Anyone could have ended up in the lead on the opening lap, and after that Ant [Whorton-Eales] and I had a great scrap. He didn’t make any mistakes, and I just managed to set him up into the left hander. It’s nice to be back on the podium again.”
“Paul [Rivett] is a wily old fox and he knows where to put the Clio,” added Whorton-Eales. “Once he got ahead, we managed to hold on behind him but ran out of laps before I could really make a move.”
James Colburn ran fourth in the early stages, but a tap from Jordan Stilp into Coram on lap two brought Lee Pattison into the equation. Pattison passed Stilp in that move, and his forward momentum saw him pass Colburn into Riches at the start of the next lap.
Behind, Alex Morgan’s tough weekend continued as after being bumped wide on the opening lap by race one rival Stilp, slight contact when running side-by-side with Bushell out of the Esses on lap three broke his steering, sending him into the barriers and out of the race.
Bushell was able to continue unscathed though and his recovery drive ended with him finishing sixth, despite his best efforts to pass former team-mate Colburn late on. Pattison meanwhile had pulled away in fourth to take his third top four finish of the season.
Stilp’s eventful weekend finished with him taking seventh at the flag ahead of Charlie Ladell. Ash Hand took ninth from Devon Modell on the final lap, while Mark Howard and newcomer Paul Knapp completed the finishers.
Provisional 2014 Renault UK Clio Cup Championship Standings (After Rd.12 of 18):
1. Josh Cook – 301pts
2. James Colburn – 267pts
3. Mike Bushell – 253pt
4. Ant Whorton-Eales – 235pts
5. Jordan Stilp – 232pts
6. Alex Morgan – 215pts
7. Lee Pattison – 210pts
8. Paul Rivett – 186pts
9. Devon Modell – 160pts
10. Ash Hand – 159pts