One Motorsport with Starline Racing locks out the glory in the BTCC Independents’ chase at Oulton Park
The One Motorsport with Starline Racing crew celebrated a lock-out of the winners’ silverware in the Independents Trophy division of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park last weekend (17/18 June).
Josh Cook took two victories at the picturesque Cheshire track during Rounds 13 and 14, while Aiden Moffat collected a battling triumph during the meeting finale in his Japanese hatchback. It was another challenging weekend for the team’s third driver Will Powell, after an opening race which had delivered much promise.
Cook broke into the front positions in qualifying, and was part of the Top Ten Shootout for pole position; he lined up on the fourth row of the grid for the opening bout.
The Bath racer made progress in the opening 15-lapper for a competitive sixth spot at the flag and underscored his pace with fifth in the second race, which was his second Independents’ glory of the meeting – his success extended his advantage at the head of the Independents’ Trophy points table to a whopping 60 points at the halfway stage.
In race three, where most drivers were using the harder tyres, Cook then grabbed his third top-10 finish of the weekend, with a fighting seventh place at the flag.
“That was a good weekend in terms of consistency and banking the points, but I always want more,” said Cook. “It is always so hard to overtake at Oulton Park because of the nature of the track and so I was a bit stuck in the races themselves.
“Despite that, it is clear that the One Motorsport with Starline Racing crew and I are making the right kind of progress with the car. We have had so much learning to do over the start of the season with what is effectively a new chassis to us and a new engine, and that means every event is a journey for us all, but solidly banking the points while we aim to get to the front is very positive.
“While it is nice to get onto the podium and collect the trophy for the Independents glory, I am always going to be striving to be on the very top and first overall. So long as we keep pushing and working in the way we have already been, I am very confident we will get there.”
Moffat started the opening race on the seventh row. However, opting for the hard tyre in race one whilst most others were on the softer compound, as well as a technical issue, meant he came home in 20th spot.
The Scotsman then bolted on the more favourable softer tyres for race three and produced one of the drives of the event as he cut through the pack to sixth at the flag, right on the bootlid of the leading pack.
“It is strange, because I overtook nine cars and landed the Independents’ Trophy win, but I was still left slightly frustrated,” Moffat admitted. “I thought an overall podium might have been on the cards. But, because I had been so aggressive at the start to get up the order, the tyres started to wear out at the end and I had to bank what I had.
“While that was a bit disappointing, I am happy with the steps forward we are making. I have had two strong meetings at Thruxton and now at Oulton Park, and we are getting into the sort of positions that I want to be in. There is a lot to build on and things are moving in the right direction.”
Powell lined up in 26th place after a spin in the qualifying session but chopped his way through the lower order in race one to climb to an impressive 19th position at the flag. However, mid-pack contact in race two broke the steering on his Honda and he went off. He rebounded with a 21st place finish in the weekend’s finale.
“Race one was how things should go,” explained Powell. “I got hit in race two but the One Motorsport with Starline Racing team did a great job, as ever, to put the car back together again.
“In race three, we were starting from the back on the harder tyres. That meant making progress was always going to be a tough ask. The entire race was a struggle.
“It is all about putting a weekend together across qualifying and all three races, and I feel like that hasn’t come to me yet. Despite that, I have enjoyed the learning. I am taking all the positives I can from my experiences in touring cars.”
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship now enters a five-week break before it resumes at Croft in North Yorkshire on 29/30 July.