A duo of cold and gloomy free practices opened the weekend, finding grip and some setup tweaks saw Josh the fastest of the Fords, with the top 24 being separated by a mere second. The weather improved slightly for Qualifying, Josh dragged everything out of the car to place him P19, still the top placing Ford, with Josh being just 0.782 seconds off pole position. After the disqualification of two drivers Josh would start race 1 from P17.
Clouds loomed over Donington Park as the first of three races lined up on the grid. The lights went out and a fast getaway saw Cook side by side with Jordon down the Craners before snatching the position going through the old hairpin. The first lap completed saw Cook up to P12, gaining 5 positions from the opening havoc. A lap later Cook pasted the MG of Taylor- Smith for P11 and began pushing hard. Lap 4 saw Cook set the fastest lap of the race so far as he campaigned onwards with his eyes firmly set on the rear bumper of Rob Collard.
Collard gaining a position by displacing Epps opened the door for Cook to get along side going through the chicane, leading Epps and chasing Collard for P9 ahead. As other lap flew by Cook got past Collard into P9, but as the cars disappeared down the Craners he emerged P11 in an MG sandwich. A lap later saw contact with the Mgs and Cook coming out in P10 with Matt Jackson looming close behind. With only a few laps left Cook gave it his all coming across the line side by side with Jeff Smith to take P10 at the chequered, retaining the highest placing Ford position. Congratulations to Aiden Moffat for his maiden win in the Championship.
A delayed start saw similar weather loom over head as the light went out for race two at Donington Park. A hectic start saw Cook capitalise and gain two positions before the first lap was completed. Cook displaced Smith into the Craners a lap later, sitting P7 Cook returned to his favourite corner holding the outside line against Turkington before snatching the position up the inside into the Old Hairpin.
Closing in on Matt Neal, Cook was able to get the undercut along side and past Neal through Coppice by lap 5. In fifth Cook pushed forward immediately attacking Shedden but to no avail. Sutton pushing from behind managed to get a nose ahead leading into the Craners before gaining the position demoting Josh briefly to sixth position.
Sutton made a quick move on Moffat allowing Cook up the inside through Redgate. Cook putting his head down set two personal best lap times back to back, before inheriting P4 as Shedden ran wide onto the gravel at Coppice.
Dropping back into the clean air Cook comfortably brought it home P4, Maximum Motorsport’s best finish to date in the British Touring Car Championship, with an outstanding drive in which 6 positions were gained. Cook commented:
“It’s a shame that we don’t quite have the same pace as some of the other cars up the hill, but overall the car is good. It’s certainly got good race pace, as I think we’re showing – it’s very nimble, very agile and set-up well. The team are doing everything that they can to give me the best car. Finishing forth is great, but it’s almost the worst place to finish because it’s one step off the podium that we are pushing so hard for!”
With rain hammering down, very low track temperature and standing water in places, the scene was set for an experimental race three on the new Dunlop Wet tyre. Lights out Cook gets a blinding start, pulling along side Shedden making the pass into Redgate, displacing Turkington on the outside. Sideways into Craners saw Cook scramble to keep third position, before inheriting second from a spinning Matt Neal. The race came to a halt with a Red flag, unfortunately resetting the grid and undoing Josh’s fantastic start.
Josh starting from the fifth grid slot saw only three cars ahead with Neal in the pits. The sun broke through as the lights went out, starting the race once again. Getting another fantastic start Cook took to the grass to get past Shedden into third position through Redgate. A safety car brought another halt to progression, but the racing resumed quickly, with Shedden displacing Cook for Third position, a lap later saw Sutton follow suit.
Ingram closes up from behind and managed to get his nose in opening the door and allowing himself and Morgan through demoting Cook to P7. Lap 8 came around with Josh being pushed wide by Lloyd loosing a further position and allowing Goff to close in and make a move to put Josh down to P9. A lock-up from Lloyd saw him disappear into the gravel at the Old Hairpin promoting Cook up a position, the second MG closing up behind demoted Josh back to P9 a lap later, but Cook stayed pinned to his rear. The final lap came around seeing Cook make the vital pass on Taylor-Smith taking the chequered flag P8. After the disqualification of race winner Shedden, Josh was promoted to P7. Three top ten finishes for Maximum Motorsport see’s Josh up to ninth in the points, we now look forward to Thruxton on the 6th and 7th of May.