RICH ENERGY BTC RACING HITS THE HIGHS AT THRUXTON
Rich Energy BTC Racing collected yet more silverware at the latest Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race weekend at Thruxton (27/28 August) as Josh Cook charged to glory.
Driving his Honda Civic Type R to success in the third race of the weekend in Hampshire, the Bath racer underlined the competitiveness that the team’s trio of machines had shown over the course of the weekend.
Cook’s victory was his fifth of the season and means he has taken more wins than any other driver on the grid this year. After scoring points in the opener despite contact early on, the 31-year-old had battled into the top ten in the second contest before pulling off some stunning overtaking moves to claim the victory in race three.
Cook was full of praise for the Rich Energy BTC Racing team as he stepped off the rostrum, he said: “That one was for the guys who have put in so much hard work on my car since the start of the season. They haven’t stopped pushing, and it is great to be able to reward them in this way.
“The car was the best I have ever known it in race three: it was simply on rails. I could put the Honda exactly where I wanted it, and it would have grip. What was also great was that we had no drop-off in performance from the tyres because we’d managed the degradation through engineering skill. It was just the best BTCC car I think I have ever driven.”
Team-mate Jason Plato lined up on the sixth row of the grid which meant he was right in the middle of the pack and was caught up in contact in the opening two races, which blighted his charge. He managed to recover into the points in race one, but he was perturbed about the incidents which had spoilt his other two encounters.
“[The contact] ruined our chances and caused damage to my car,” said Plato. “And what is hugely frustrating is that the Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda had strong pace. When we didn’t have damage inflicted by others, my laps times were really quick, but our chances were derailed by things that were simply out of my control.”
Jade Edwards was also in the thick of the action over the course of the three rounds in Hampshire and she was knocking hard on the door of a points finish in all of the races. She qualified on the tenth row of the grid and saw the chequered flag in each outing.
“Although the results don’t show it, that was one of my best weekends of the year in terms of battling with drivers and getting my elbows out,” explained Edwards. “The car was superb – it has not felt better all season. I had such confidence in the package and that allowed me to race really hard.
“I was on the verge of the points but contact in races two and three ultimately set me back. I am walking away from the meeting with my head held high though. It has certainly put me on the front foot looking ahead and I think I have shown that I can mix it with some of the best drivers out there.”
“I am really proud of what Josh has been able to achieve,” added Team Principal Danny Buxton. “He had a setback in the opener but kept his head and fought hard to climb back through the pack. To win the finale was superb and it wasn’t gifted to him; he had to battle ahead of two BMWs and then manage his race after that. It was an exemplary performance and, from now until the end of the season, we will be focused on as many wins as we can manage.
“It was a difficult weekend for Jason although he had great pace. He didn’t string together his qualifying session and that put him in the zone where drivers quite like to trade paint, whereas we are used to being ahead of those guys – that really hurt his chances.
“I also think that was Jade’s best weekend of the year so far. She was really racy and pulled off some great moves. There is much more to come, and she should take great confidence from what she was able to do at Thruxton.”
With the penultimate race weekend on the horizon, the Brackley-based outfit will be aiming for another strong weekend at Silverstone next time out (24/25 September) as the championship battle nears its climax.