COOK ROUNDS-OFF PROTYRE FORMULA RENAULT SEASON WITH SIXTH PODIUM
Early race contact during the final round of the Protyre Formula Renault season at Silverstone over the weekend, 28th/29th September, cost Jake Cook a chance at ending the year inside the series top three – although the Hillspeed racer did manage to add to his podium tally in the preceding race.
Having finished an excellent second in round 15, and confirming his superb pace with the fastest lap of the encounter, the first year ‘slicks and wings’ racer was robbed of the opportunity to take a well-deserved top three championship finish through no fault of his own in round 16.
Beginning the final race of the campaign from seventh on the grid, Cook was edged back to eighth on the opening lap and after a three-lap Safety Car period racing resumed with the Rotherham driver maintaining his position.
Heading into Becketts on lap six, though, an errant move by Hongli Yee on the driver behind Cook resulted in the Chinese racer slamming into the Hillspeed car – resulting in an instant retirement for the luckless Briton.
While bitterly disappointed to end the season in that manner, Cook’s performance in the first of the weekend’s races was more than noteworthy. Starting round 15 sixth on the grid, Cook moved into seventh on lap one and by the fourth tour he had impressively broken onto the top four.
Following a shake-up on lap six, Cook emerged in second place and within just 0.6 seconds of race leader Ivan Taranov. Getting to within 0.3 seconds on lap nine, Cook piled on the pressure but over the final few laps he decided to settle for second position.
Hillspeed team-mate Matt Rao endured a very tough final weekend of the season, particularly disappointing after a strong qualifying performance where he lapped within just 0.4 seconds of pole position to secure a spot on the sixth row of the grid.
Contact on lap two of the first race, while running in the top 10, led to an instantaneous retirement and due to the extent of the damage Rao was unable to take to the grid for round 16 with his car beyond repair in the time available.
In the end, Cook concluded his first season in ‘slicks and wings’ fifth in the Protyre Formula Renault Championship standings – just four points shy of fourth place – while Rao was 15th overall, three non-scores from the final three races of the season costing him a potential top 10 placing.