Josh Cook Back to Winning Form at Thruxton
20 May 2019 | Ravenol Marketing
Our British Touring Car Championship partners BTC Racing battled hard across a challenging race day to secure a second win of the season at Thruxton.
Having performed well in testing at the high-speed venue last month, the team were confident going into qualifying on Saturday and both Josh Cook and Chris Smiley were on the pace, setting times just outside the top 10 in their Honda Civic Type Rs.
On the starting grid for Race 1, Josh lined up in 11th, with Chris only just behind in 12th. However in the chaos of the first lap, Josh dropped a place and Chris slipped down to 16th after being clipped by Aiden Moffat’s Mercedes in the final chicane. With overtaking proving difficult, Josh had to battle hard to regain 11th place from Jake Hill, whist Chris was caught up in a multi-car battle in the midfield. He managed to get past the older Honda of Matt Simpson 3 laps before the end and finished in 14th place.
Both drivers struggled to make up places in Race 2. Josh did manage to make it into the top 10 after a late move on Ash Sutton. Chris on the other hand had more bad luck after he was again involved in contact, this time with Ollie Jackson’s Ford Focus, which saw him drop down to 23rd. But Chris battled hard to make his way back through the field and ended the race in 15th, picking up a fully deserved point for his efforts.
Josh got a stroke of luck in the reverse draw for the final race and landed a starting position on the front row of the grid. The setup changes made to his car over the break allowed him to get a decent start, and he was soon challenging Sutton for the lead, jumping ahead going into the complex. Despite two safety car period and with drizzle in the air, Josh was able to control the race from the front to secure his second win of the campaign and maintain a top three position in the championship standings.
“We hadn’t been slow in race one and two but didn’t have the strengths we needed in certain areas,” Josh said after the race. “We found those for race three and the points we scored could prove to be vital as we need to make sure we remain in the mix when it gets towards the business end of the year.”
Further back, starting from 15th on the grid, Chris’s start was not quite so good, losing 2 places on the opening lap when he was forced to take evasive action as a couple of cars ahead came together. However he recovered well and made his way back up the field and finished the day just outside the top 10 in 11th.
“We made changes to the car across race day and we found something that allowed me to start pushing forwards and I think people need to remember that this is only our third weekend with the car and we are still learning,” Chris said about his race.
“We just need to get further up the grid in qualifying as it gets dicey in the pack when you find yourself in the midfield. It’s so tight that it can hard to make progress but I showed you can overtake in the third race and now I just need the rub of the green a little bit. I’m sure my time will come.”
Team principal Bert Taylor was understandably proud of the efforts of both his drivers, especially Hosh for bringing home race win #2 for himself and the team.
“After the first two races, it looked like this was going to be a real weekend to forget for us as we just didn’t have the pace that we had showed when we tested at Thruxton last month,” he said. “The team worked hard to make changes across race day and we took a bit of a gamble ahead of race three that worked and to come away with a win is great.”
On the back of his Race 3 victory, Josh Cook is now 3rd in the BTCC Drivers’ championship and only 2 points off the lead, behind Colin Turkington and Rory Butcher. Meanwhile BTC Racing are 4th in the Teams’ Championships, and leading in the Independent Teams standings.
Next up we head to Croft on the 15-16 June for Round 4 of what it shaping up to be a very exciting season for the team. We wish them all the best of luck!