RICH ENERGY BTC RACING ‘DEDICATED AND FOCUSSED AS EVER’ AFTER TOUGH KNOCKHILL WEEKEND
The sixth event of the 2022 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, at Knockhill in Fife little over a week ago (30/31 July) proved to be a tough hunting ground for Rich Energy BTC Racing with the all-action nature of the series and the Scottish track taking its toll.
Josh Cook scored points in all three of the rounds North of the border, while team-mates Jason Plato and Jade Edwards were caught up in mid-pack skirmishes which diminished any hopes of glory. The Honda Civic Type R drivers will now look ahead to the next meeting at Snetterton this weekend (13/14 August) to restart their campaigns.
Cook qualified the seventh row of the grid and struggled to make progress around the tight and twisty 1.27-mile track. He finished 15th in the opener and then backed that up with 13th in race two before battling to eighth spot in the weekend’s reversed grid finale.
“That is certainly not what we were looking for,” admitted Cook. “The team has worked really hard in the mid-season break on unlocking every ounce of pace from the chassis that we possibly can.
“The fruits of that work were obvious because the car was handling superbly, but we were blown away by the others on the straight-line speeds.
“Nevertheless, we will not stop chipping away to extract all the performance that we can from the Honda, and it is a testament to the whole team that they are as dedicated and focussed as ever.”
Plato’s charge from the tenth row on the grid in race one was thwarted when an out-of-control rival cannoned into him at the chicane and the subsequent damage forced him into the pits. He was caught up in a first-lap melee in race two which also required him to stop for repairs. In race three, the two-time champion made it home in 17th position.
“That was really a weekend to forget,” said Plato. “I was taken out in two races by other people’s accidents. In race three, I was able to produce two great overtakes into the hairpin and then the others were able to power past me on the exit of the corner.
“It is annoying because the team is doing a superb job in-house to make sure there is nothing left on the table from our point of view.”
After lining up in 24th spot, Edwards went on to take 23rd in race one, before landing 20th spot in race two, which earned her a top-four finish in the rookie-based Jack Sears Trophy. She rounded off the weekend with 24th position in race three.
“Knockhill proved that the team is operating at a high level, but there are factors right now which make things tough for everyone,” added Edwards. “Credit goes to Rich Energy BTC Racing for working so hard to deliver a car to us drivers which is superb.
“Rich Energy BTC Racing will continue to push as hard as it can, and hopefully our situation will change in the future.”
“It was a really tough weekend,” concluded Team Owner Steve Dudman. “We tried everything during the summer break and looked inwardly at ourselves to try and find the small gains that we are looking for from the car and after free practice one, I thought we showed great promise.
“However, we had some operational problems with the performance of cooling the engine intake charge as the temperatures rose across the weekend and we still need to understand that far more.
“We are working hard with M-Sport as there is not one simple answer. The installation in the Honda has many different characteristics from competitors’ cars. We are looking for the finest of improvements everywhere and between us all to get the performance back.
“We all as a team, just need to work together on getting that right for ourselves and for our drivers, as frustrated as they are, and we will be exploring every avenue we can.
“You can’t stand still if you want to be at the front of this championship, and that is the position we will constantly aim for, but when we find what’s missing, I hope it will be very evident to see when we bounce back.”
The team now turns its attention to the next rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, which are set to take place at Snetterton in Norfolk this weekend (13/14 August).