Championship leader Cook back on top in Rockingham testing

Normal service was resumed for Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup championship leader Josh Cook (Bath) during official testing at Rockingham today, Friday, 5th September, as the SV Racing with KX driver topped the times ahead of the weekend’s penultimate two races of the season.

Ending the day just over 0.3 seconds faster than chief rival Mike Bushell (Tunbridge Wells) thanks to a quickest lap of 1m30.462 seconds (77.20mph) during the afternoon run, Cook was also the fastest driver on track in session one where he lapped in a time of 1m30.721 seconds (76.98mph).

After a challenging outing at Knockhill in Scotland a fortnight ago, where he unfortunately incurred a 10 place grid penalty for the first of this weekend’s races, Cook was back to his best at Rockingham’s International Super Sportscar Circuit today and had a clear edge.

“It’s weird, in the second session I really messed up my lap and so didn’t even look at the dash, but when I got back to the pits the team told me I was P1 anyway”, explained the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star, “The car felt really good, really dialled in, so I can’t wait for tomorrow now and to try and carry this forward.

“All of my team-mates are really quick too and we can see from their data there’s still more time to find. I’ve got the penalty from Knockhill but if you’re going to have that anywhere, Rockingham is the place to have it with it being such a wide track. I’m actually really looking forward to the weekend.”

Bushell improved from fourth in the morning to second overall for the day in session two, delivering a best time of 1m30.772 seconds (76.94mph) for VitalRacing with Team Pyro to deny Teams’ points leader SV Racing a possible one-two-three with the in-form Ash Hand (Nuneaton) and Ant Whorton-Eales (Lichfield) just edged into third and fourth respectively.

Paul Rivett placed fifth, only 0.075 seconds shy of Whorton-Eales, to lead the way in the Masters Cup for WDE Motorsport with class rival Lee Pattison (Scholes) only a fraction slower to round out the top six for Pyro.

Westbourne Motorsport’s James Colburn (Worthing) ended the day with the seventh quickest time, ahead of SV Racing with KX driver Alex Morgan (Reading), 20Ten Racing’s Jordan Stilp (Potterspury) and Westbourne’s Devon Modell (Maidstone). Stilp’s best time of the day came during the morning as rear damper problems spoiled his afternoon running.

Championship debutant Dan Holland (Dagenham) impressed in the JamSport entered Clio to end his first test day at the wheel of the Dunlop shod car just outside the top 10, a best lap of 1m31.455 seconds (76.36mph) in session two a massive 0.8 seconds faster than his morning quickest and putting him less than a second shy of Cook’s benchmark.

There were a couple of red flag stoppages in the morning, one for Holland and another for 20Ten Racing’s Mark Howard (Westborough) after they had separate excursions into the gravel. Newcomer Simon Horrobin (Snodland) had a moment late in session two which brought the day’s activity to an early conclusion. He ended up 13th fastest, behind Charlie Ladell (Felixstowe), with Howard 14th.

Qualifying for rounds 15 and 16 of the Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup will take place at 10.50 tomorrow, Saturday, 6th September, with the first race of the weekend following at 15.00. On Sunday, 7th September, round 16 – which will be screened live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD – is scheduled to begin at 13.00. Live streaming will be carried at www.itv.com/btcc

The Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup is additionally supported by ELF, Performance Friction, WP Racing and official tyre supplier Dunlop.

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup standings (after Rd14 – inc. drop scores):
1st Josh Cook, 312pts; 2nd Mike Bushell, 300pts; 3rd James Colburn, 272pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Graduate Cup’ standings (after Rd14 – inc. drop scores):
1st Josh Cook, 334pts; 2nd James Colburn, 317pts; 3rd Ant Whorton-Eales, 309pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup ‘Masters Cup’ standings (after Rd14 – inc. drop scores):
1st Lee Pattison, 364pts; 2nd Paul Rivett, 353pts; 3rd Mark Howard, 268pts

Provisional 2014 Courier Connections Renault UK Clio Cup Team standings (after Rd14):
1st SV Racing with KX, 733pts; 2nd Team Pyro, 554pts; 3rd Westbourne Motorsport, 487pts