Power Maxed TAG Racing came to Oulton Park on the crest of a wave, with Josh Cook just a point off the lead of the Drivers’ Championship and the Team leading both the Manufacturers and Teams Championships.
The free practice sessions on Saturday morning set the tone for a challenging weekend, as both Josh and Senna struggled to find a balance around the undulating parkland circuit. Josh hauled his weight laden Power Maxed TAG Racing Astra to a hard earned 20th in qualifying, just 8/10ths of a second from pole position, and next to Championship leader, Adam Morgan. Meanwhile, Senna was just over 1/10th further back, albeit six more places, consigning both Power Maxed TAG Racing machines to a difficult uphill start.
With Race Day track temperatures touching 41C, Race 1 was a surprisingly calm affair. A largely processional race saw Cook get ahead of rival Morgan on lap 1, and stay in a Mercedes sandwich until the end, benefiting from a couple of late retirements to finish 17th and maintain his Championship position.
Just behind, Proctor fought hard until just past the mid-race point, before a momentary loss of power, caused by an overheated sensor, caused a drop of four places before the Lancastrian regained his pace to finish in a frustrated 28th.
Race 2 saw a good start from both drivers, only for Josh to be hit hard on the flat-out approach to Cascades and be fired through the deep gravel trap. Great car control saw the Astra re-join the track; but the damage was done, and Josh was forced to pit for a check over and repairs. Cook re-joined over a lap down, setting competitive times, but to no avail, as he crossed the line 28th, and last of the classified runners.
The other Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra of Senna Proctor had a much more competitive showing, moving from 28th position at the start to finish a credible 16th, unable to gain more places from a defensive Bushell before the end.
If the tight confines of Oulton Park had already made over-taking difficult in Races 1 and 2, then it caused chaos in Race 3, as a start-line pile up accounted for four cars before Old Hall. Initially contained under a Safety Car period, the field was halted and a restart was called after the mess had been cleaned up.
Whilst Senna had expertly navigated through the carnage, Josh had no such worries, as the Power Maxed TAG Racing crew had only just got the Astra to the end of the pitlane in time, following damage from being hit in Race 2 being much more extensive than initially thought. A back of grid start, with no weight disadvantage, allowed the Somerset driver to show why he is challenging for the Championship, as he scythed his way through to 12th place entering the final laps.
Senna had also made good progress, particularly on Lap 1 of the restart, until he got to the log jam, otherwise known as Chilton’s struggling Ford. Sitting at the back of the concertinaed pack, Senna was vulnerable to his quicker team-mate on softer tyres, ultimately conceding the place on the last lap to finish 12th, with Josh 11th (taking Fastest Lap).
Coming away from Oulton Park, Power Maxed TAG Racing is still right in the middle of the Championship fight; 2nd in the Manufacturers’, 3rd in the Teams, 5th and 11th in the Drivers. Roll on Croft!
Josh Cook, Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra #66 said: “We knew from Thruxton that the weight I’d be carrying into this weekend was going to slow us down. It’s a shame that we had a component failure during Qualifying, but the guys did really well to get me back out for the last 2 laps. I think if I’d had more track time I could’ve bettered my time, but with the company I was in, I was fairly happy with P20. Race 3 the car really came alive, and I’m happy with the ground I made up after the restart. On the good side, we bagged some more points and haven’t lost too much ground in the Championship.”
Senna Proctor, Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall Astra #18 said: “An electrical fault in Race 1 caused me to drop back to P28, but finishing P12 in the last race was a great result for all the team and my sponsors. We struggled with the weight around the hilly circuit on Saturday, which made Sunday that bit more difficult. However, I’m now looking forward to my home circuit, Croft, in just two weeks-time.”
Martin Broadhurst, Technical Director, Power Maxed TAG Racing: “This weekend just didn’t go our way, with a technical glitch causing Senna to lose power briefly in Race 1, followed by Josh’s off in Race 2 causing suspension damage, Race 3 was all about ensuring we kept ourselves in the points. But that’s motorsport; you can’t win everything.”