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Jake Cook has proved he has all the ingredients for success with victory in each of the last four races in the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance. He aims to continue that form as the championship heads to Silverstone this weekend.

Funny old season: Jake Cook won the opening two races in the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance at Brands Hatch and headed to Thruxton as the championship leader. A disappointing weekend followed and Sarah Moore won both races, instantly becoming the most talked-about driver on the grid. Wins came, too, from Aaron Williamson, Alex Austin and Jake Hill, before Cook turned his season around. He won both races at Snetterton and backed that up with two more impressive wins at Knockhill.

That means Jake heads the title race to Silverstone with a margin of just four points over Williamson with Sarah Moore back in third, just 15 points adrift of Aaron. Each of the three could yet take the title at Brands Hatch in October, whilst fourth-placed Alex Austin is not out of contention either. What makes Cook’s recovery even more remarkable, though, is that he lost 20 points in the championship for driving standards at Oulton Park and retired from race two in Cheshire. Back in May, he was fourth in the standings, 85 points away from Sarah Moore.

Sarah lost points at Croft with a puncture and retired (her only non-finish of the year) after contact with Chris Swanwick at Knockhill broke the steering rack. She fought back to take second in race two which negated some of the damage but it is now many months since her last win – May, to be precise, when Sarah bagged her third win at Donington.

Against the championship protagonists this weekend are the rapid Alex Austin (winner at Oulton Park) Mitchell Hale and Tom Howard, plus Chris Swanwick who has shown flashed of promise. There is also David Moore, Sarah’s brother, in his first year of racing who may well be able to upset the party at the front – and take points of Sarah’s rivals.

With just six races to go, including this weekend’s double-header, the championship is at a crucial stage.

Qualifying for the Ginetta Junior Championship takes place on Saturday August 29 at 14:00 after free practice at 09:00. Race one is on Saturday at 17:00 and race two on Sunday at 14:45.

Jake Cook - SnettertonDouble pole position starter Jake Cook concluded his faultless Snetterton weekend in the best way possible today, Sunday, 2nd August, by taking a pair of outstanding – and largely unchallenged – race victories during rounds 11 and 12 of the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance.

Appearing to be in a class of his own during qualifying at the 1.95-mile Norfolk track on Saturday, the TJ Motorsport racer didn’t put a wheel wrong in either of today’s encounters as he continued his superb form to seal a perfect haul of pole positions, race wins and fastest laps. Earning a maximum 74 points towards his championship total, Cook is very much back in the thick of the 2009 title race.

Reflecting on his incredible weekend, the 16-year-old said: “It’s been a perfect weekend, two fastest laps, two wins and two poles – it couldn’t have been much better. I knew I’d been quickest here all weekend, I took pole position by half a second, but I didn’t want to get complacent in the races as I knew it’d be much harder to break the tow along the back straight – it’s so hard to do in these cars.

“I didn’t get as good a start as I wanted in the first race, plus I couldn’t see very well as I had mud all over the windscreen and the wipers didn’t work, but a couple of laps in I managed to make the break. The second race was good again and I made a better start. The Safety Car meant I had to do it all over again but everything worked out. I’m really happy.”

At the beginning of round 11, Cook didn’t get away from the grid as well as he wanted but he still managed to fend off Mitchell Hale and as soon as he got into his stride, there was no stopping Cook as he scorched to a winning margin of almost three seconds.

The opening lap proved to be nothing short of a disaster for title contender Alex Austin who, from a lower than expected ninth on the grid, had a spin which dropped him to last place. He eventually finished in 11th position.

During the early exchanges, Hale ran in second ahead of Chris Swanwick, Aaron Williamson, Carl Stirling and Sarah Moore but the latter moved up to fifth on lap three after Stirling had a moment during the early part of the lap.

Then, on the fifth tour, it was Hale’s turn for some misfortune as a spin at the Esses dropped him down the order. Worse luck followed for Hale when Adam Bonham had a spin at the Bomb Hole, costing both drivers valuable time. So, on lap six, Cook led by a clear margin at the front with Swanwick second, Williamson third and Moore fourth.

Moore pressured Williamson all the way to the chequered flag on lap nine as she strived for her first podium since the Oulton Park event at the end of May. In the end though, she just missed out by a mere 0.123 seconds. Louise Richardson came home in fifth place ahead of Thomas Howard, Shane Stoney, the recovering Hale, Jake Rattenbury and David Moore.

Round 12 produced another masterclass from Cook and although Hale started well, there was nothing he could do about the outcome. As in race one, things didn’t go smoothly for Hale when a gearbox problem on the final lap robbed him of a fine second place and dropped him to eighth at the chequered flag, just ahead of Rattenbury and Stirling and behind Stoney.

During the early stages, Cook, Hale and Swanwick ran in the top three positions while the fight over fourth place between Williamson, Sarah Moore and Austin intensified by the lap. On the fourth tour at Riches, however, Austin tried to usurp Moore but the pair ended up touching and spinning into the path of the unfortunate Stirling who was caught-up in the aftermath.

Following a short two lap Safety Car period, racing resumed on lap seven and Cook dealt with the pressure well by pulling away to an eventual winning margin on lap 10 of three seconds. Swanwick finished in second place, once again ahead of Williamson, with Howard taking fourth ahead of Moore siblings Sarah and David.

Richardson, who was a strong fifth after the Safety Car, was pitched into a spin on lap seven through no fault of her own and she ended up down in 11th place, a disappointing end to the weekend after looking well on course for another impressive finish.

Double second place finisher Swanwick commented: “It’s been a good weekend for us, I’m just trying to consistently move up towards the top end of the championship so these two podiums are obviously great. I’m really happy with the way the weekend has gone for us.”

Williamson, who enjoyed two top three results, added: “We wanted two podiums this weekend and we managed it so that’s important. In the second race I did struggle a little bit but when Mitch’s (Hale) gearbox went I was able to take third place.”

In terms of the championship, Sarah Moore leads by an increased margin but her closest challengers have bunched up significantly with Williamson now second, 12 points shy of the lead, and Cook moving up into the top three a further 12 points behind. Austin, who started the weekend only a single point adrift of Moore, has slipped to fourth and is now 33 points away from the top spot.

Knockhill in Scotland will host the next event on the Ginetta Junior Championship calendar just two weeks from now, 15th/16th August. Rounds 13 and 14 of the season will take place at the Fife venue as part of the annual visit north of the border of the British Touring Car Championship package.

Provisional 2009 Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance Positions (after Rd12):
1st Sarah Moore, 273pts; 2nd Aaron Williamson, 261pts; 3rd Jake Cook, 249pts; 4th Alex Austin, 240pts; 5th Thomas Howard, 190pts; 6th Mitchell Hale, 183pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Jake CookGinetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance front-runner Jake Cook reaffirmed his position as a genuine 2009 title contender at Snetterton in Norfolk today, Saturday, 1st August, with a thoroughly dominant performance during qualifying for the 11th and 12th rounds of the season.

Grabbing pole position for both of Sunday’s races – the second of which is scheduled to be screened live across the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4 – the TJ Motorsport racer was in unstoppable form, securing the top spot for round 11 by a huge 0.566 seconds.

The 16-year-old’s best lap of 1m27.313 seconds (80.48mph) was just two 10ths of a second outside the pace he set during the earlier 15-minute free practice session and his second fastest time in qualifying, 1m27.589 seconds, secured a memorable double pole position some six 10ths of a second clear of his nearest challenger. His efforts are also rewarded with two bonus points.

Delighted to post his third and fourth pole starts of the 2009 season, the last time Cook lined up at the very front of the grid, at Brands Hatch at the beginning of the season, he went on to claim a pair of well deserved victories. He’ll certainly be aiming to repeat those performances tomorrow but, as is always the case in Ginetta Junior racing, nothing is ever predictable!

While Cook’s day couldn’t have gone any better, his fellow championship front-runners didn’t have things as good with Alex Austin, in particular, further down the grid than he would have liked in ninth position for round 11 and seventh place for round 12.

Mitchell Hale was second fastest in qualifying with a time of 1m27.879 seconds (79.96mph), just over a 10th of a second quicker than Tollbar Racing team-mate Chris Swanwick in third who, in turn, was 0.098 seconds ahead of Carl Stirling, the lead Tockwith Motorsport driver.

Muzz Racing’s Aaron Williamson will head the third row of the grid for round 11 after posting the fifth fastest time, shading championship leader Sarah Moore by just 0.078 seconds. Adam Bonham, Louise Richardson, Austin and Shane Stoney, meanwhile, round out the top 10 starters for the first of Sunday’s races.

The top four on the grid for round 12 reads exactly the same with Cook heading Hale, Swanwick and Stirling. Moore’s second fastest lap enabled her to leapfrog Williamson for fifth on the grid while row four will feature Austin and Richardson with Stoney and Jake Rattenbury on the fifth row.

Round 11 of the 2009 Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance is scheduled to get underway at 10.30 tomorrow, Sunday, 2nd August, with round 12, which will be televised live on ITV4, expected to follow at 16.25.

Provisional 2009 Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance Positions (after Rd11&12 qualifying):
1st Sarah Moore, 231pts; 2nd Alex Austin, 230pts; 3rd Aaron Williamson, 209pts; 4th Jake Cook, 177pts; 5th Mitchell Hale, 155pts; 6th David Moore & Tom Howard, 150pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography

Just one point separates Sarah Moore from Alex Austin at the head of the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance as the championship heads to Snetterton.

In terms of wins it is three-one to Sarah Moore over Alex Austin as the Ginetta Junior Championship with Henderson Insurance makes its sole visit to Snetterton. However, with Sarah suffering a puncture in the most recent race at Croft, she bagged just four points and allowed the consistent Austin – who had scored victory at Oulton Park – to close the gap. It stands at just one point heading to East Anglia…

Although the title race is between these two at present, expect it to become a three-way tussle. Lurking just 21 points adrift of Austin is Aaron Williamson who has taken three wins (at Donington, Oulton Park and Croft) but failed to finish at Thruxton and lost points for a clash at Oulton Park. His speed is undeniable and he should force his way back into the picture this weekend.

Jake Cook took honours at Brands Hatch at the start of the season to lock out the top step of the podium in both races. He struggled at Thruxton, though, and spent the Donington and Oulton Park weekends building up his pace.  He was in better form at Croft taking second in race one, so don’t discount him from claiming another win here – and from forcing himself back into contention for the title.

Others to look for include Jake Hill who finally scored victory at Croft – whilst his father Simon was away at Le Mans, watching it all on ITV4. With his maiden win finally achieved, it will be interesting to see if he can add more wins now his confidence has been boosted. David Moore, Sarah’s brother has shown speed in his first year of racing. He took second at Oulton Park and is knocking on the door of his first win, while Chris Swanwick and Mitchell Hale have proved they can run at the front, too.

With Snetterton ideal for slipstreaming, expect two typically close races from the teenage racers as the championship fight intensifies.

Qualifying for the Ginetta Junior Championship takes place on Saturday August 1 at 11:55 with race one at 10:30 the following day. Race two, scheduled for the same 9-lap duration, is due to begin at 16:25.