MIXED WEEKEND FOR HILLSPEED IN PROTYRE FORMULA RENAULT AT ROCKINGHAM
Jake Cook retained his top three placing in the Protyre Formula Renault Championship standings during the penultimate event of the 2013 season at Rockingham over the weekend, 10th/11th August, with a best result of fourth place in round 12.
Although having to settle for the eighth fastest time in qualifying, the Rotherham driver produced a fantastic performance to get to within only two seconds of the podium placings in the first of the weekend’s three races. Breaking into the top six on lap one, Cook remained there until lap five when climbing into fifth and he then rapidly grabbed fourth on the following tour.
Matt Rao, who started the race in 14th position, also made good progress and climbed through into the top 10. Moving into the lead dozen on the opening tour, Rao assumed 11th place on lap five and then took 10th position three laps later where he remained to the flag – driving well to just fend off Chinese racer Wei Fung Thong at the finish.
For round 13, Cook lined-up an uncharacteristic 10th on the grid with Rao in 14th position and, again, the Hillspeed team-mates each worked their way up the order impressively. Cook moved into ninth on lap one and rapidly sliced his way further up the field by leaping into seventh on lap two and then taking sixth on the fourth tour.
Oxford’s Rao climbed into 13th place on the opening tour before gaining two more positions the next time around, although he slipped back to 12th place on lap four. Fighting his way back into 11th place on lap 10, Rao capped a good drive by moving into the top 10 a couple of laps from the end.
Unfortunately for the Richard Ollerenshaw-led team, round 14 concluded with both cars failing to finish. Starting the race on the fourth row of the grid in seventh position, Cook looked to make good progress once again but at Yentwood on lap one he was wiped out in a multi-car tangle which led to retirement on the spot.
Rao had better fortune on the first lap, avoiding the incident well to carve his way through from 15th on the grid into ninth position. Gaining a further place on the eighth tour, before a second Safety Car period, a top result for Rao went begging on the final lap when he was forced to retire after contact.