KING COOK REIGNS SUPREME
BTC Racing’s Josh Cook secured a seventh career BTCC victory at Thruxton in today’s opener, as the undisputed king of the Hampshire speedbowl continued his incredible run at the fastest track in the UK.
Starting from third on the grid, Cook immediately weaved his #66 Honda Civic Type R by Jake Hill’s Ford and pole-sitter Dan Rowbottom’s Honda on the run down to the Campbell Corner for the first time.
The move was completed with relative ease and the same can be said for the remainder of the race, as Cook held off MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Hill until the finish.
It was Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Rowbottom that struggled to maintain his impressive qualifying pace, as he was also relegated further down the order early on by Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant and Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Rory Butcher.
The final place in the top five eventually went to championship leader Ash Sutton, who showed hugely impressive pace despite carrying maximum success ballast in the Laser Tools Racing Infiniti.
After a number of eye-catching passes Sutton hounded Butcher’s Toyota until the finish, before settling for significant championship points ahead of several championship challengers.
Rowbottom had to accept sixth, ahead of Adam Morgan’s Car Gods-backed Ciceley BMW and BTC Racing’s Senna Proctor, whilst the top ten battle kept the huge crowd entertained.
Tom Ingram (Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com), Jason Plato (Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing) and Colin Turkington (Team BMW) started the penultimate lap nose-to-tail before the hard-fought scrap came to a head at the final chicane.
A brilliant move from Plato in the #11 Vauxhall left Ingram’s Hyundai with nowhere to go, as the BMW of Turkington also nipped by. Ingram responded to get back by Turkington, but Plato was already clear to claim tenth.
Race 2 will take place at 1415 and Race 3 commences at 1735 – all of the action is live throughout the day on ITV4.
Josh Cook said: “It was a good race and good to take the lead pretty much off the start. Jake was really quick behind – I knew I couldn’t take my foot off the gas really. I’m just mega pleased for the team really. We had a hard Knockhill, so it was good to come here, get P3 in qualifying and then convert that into the win: just what we wanted!
“I just happened to get a blinder of a start. I managed to get past Jake, on my left and then weave around the outside of Rowbo into the complex. Then I just had to get my head down and put in those qualifying laps that our car’s just so good at doing. It looks after tyres really well, so it just allowed me to get into a bit of a rhythm and then bring it home.
“Race two I’m going to have 75kg in, I’ve got to try and do it again. I managed to do it at the start of the year, but I think it might be tough to do it today – I’ve got Jake behind me! It’s ultra-close now. When you look at how tight the grid was at the start of the year, it was close in typical BTCC style, but this time it’s ultra, ultra-close in qualifying so we can see that the grid’s really evenly matched this year.”
Jake Hill said: “I didn’t make the best start, it wasn’t my proudest moment. My starts are getting better and better, but I messed that one up slightly. I’ve always been good on the opening lap here, as we were in all three races that we did earlier this year. And now I’ve done the same again. I managed to get Rowbo and the exit of the complex and then out braked Tom into the final chicane. I’m really pleased, the car was really stable throughout the race, Josh was just a little bit too quick, he knows this track very, very well. But we come away with P2 so I’m really pleased.
“I made a mistake through Church on one lap, and then Josh did on another lap, it was a little bit of cat and mouse. You never know if he’s going to make another mistake and ultimately you never know if I’m going to as well. So I was just trying to be as clean and consistent as possible, it didn’t quite work out to be the win but nevertheless I’m still pleased.”
Tom Oliphant said: “What took me by surprise was being P2 going into Noble to be fair! I wasn’t expecting that. I had my game plan of being in fourth and maybe just pick off Butcher, but I came out behind Cook and just tried to get my head down.
“The car felt really good, and I just came into my last corner and broke late, but the laws of physics dictate that we just can’t do that. So [Jake] had a blinding braking zone and just managed to pull in front of me as I was just about making the corner. Fair play to him, he needed to do that as when I’d got to lap two or three my tyres were up to temperature, and I could go a little later. So fair play to Jake, he was quick at the start. I think we came back to him in the middle of the race and then he found a second wind, my car started to feel a little bit edgy so I decided to cruise the last few laps and bring home a brilliant podium.”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Thruxton
1 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing 16 laps
2 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +1.360s
3 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +3.740s
4 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +5.847s
5 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +6.506s
6 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +9.260s
7 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +10.617s
8 Senna PROCTOR(GBR) BTC Racing +12.144s
9 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +14.511s
10 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +15.970s
11 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +16.635s
12 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +16.667s
13 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +17.480s
14 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +17.845s
15 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +18.535s
16 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +21.659s
17 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +22.165s
18 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +22.375s
19 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +23.507s
20 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +23.983s
21 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +24.259s
22 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +31.014s
23 Jack MITCHELL (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +33.060s
24 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +35.373s
25 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +35.696s
26 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +1 lap
27 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +1 lap
28 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +1 lap
29 Paul RIVETT (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +1 lap