Josh Cook believes his Team Cooksport squad have the capabilities to challenge for the Renault UK Clio Cup title this season after securing their first victory in the championship last weekend at Brands Hatch.
While the engineering group behind the team have previously enjoyed multiple race-winning success with Cook, the victory for Lee Pattison during the 2016 season opener was the team’s first since joining the championship at the start of last year.
It came on a superb opening weekend for Pattison, who followed up second place in the opening encounter with a lights-to-flag victory in race two, his first Clio win for nearly three years, to leave Kent as the early championship leader.
“The team are really happy to get our first win as an ‘official’ Clio Cup team,” Cook told TCF.
“The guys are used to doing a race-winning job, they put a championship challenge together for me in 2014, and they do an identical job now to then. They’ve being doing everything piece by piece, getting the puzzle together, and it came together at Brands Hatch with a first and a second.”
Alongside Pattison, the team are also running second year contenders Rory Collingbourne (below) and George Jackson, both of whom took best results of fourth last season during a breakthrough weekend at Rockingham.
Cook feels all three of the team’s drivers can have a presence at the front of the grid, and he has no doubts over the team’s ability to challenge for this year’s title: “Absolutely we can,” he stated.
“All of our three drivers have the ability to be battling right at the front of the field. They’ve all certainly got the pace and it’s just about working with them, comparing the data and the on-boards, to improve all their lap times together.
“We came away from Brands with the championship lead, but we want to make sure we’re coming away from Brands GP with the championship lead, that’s what counts.”
The 24 year old, who currently competes in the BTCC in a MG Triple Eight Racing MG6, knows though that to do so, they will have to overcome one of the most talented and competitive Clio Cup grids of recent times.
“There is a lot of talent in this championship this year, including some big names returning like Mike Bushell, Paul Rivett and Ant Whorton-Eales,” he concluded.
“You know those three drivers are going to be towards the front, but we’re confident we can challenge them, then there’s some quick guys coming in like Dan Zelos at Ciceley, Daniel Rowbottom and Paul Streather.
“You can’t really pick a champion right now, it’s too early to call and it’s going to be a really unpredictable season.”