Josh Cook was delighted to pick up another brace of top-10 finishes in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s visit to Thruxton last weekend, the Power Maxed Racing driver continuing a strong start to his rookie campaign.
Qualifying again inside the top 10 for the second meeting in succession, the Chevrolet Cruze driver converted eighth on the grid into ninth during Sunday’s opening race at the Hampshire circuit, only to be limited to 18th in race two after being forced to pit to remove a stray advertising board from the front of his car.
Starting 18th on the grid in race three, the charge that followed from Cook was a highlight of the extended 19-lap encounter. Despite a collision with team-mate Dave Newsham at the Complex – Cook apologising afterwards – the rookie eventually fought his way up to ninth place by the flag, describing the action as ‘hard, but fair’.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag after his third race battle, Cook quipped: “I’m absolutely knackered. I hope we got a lot of coverage!
“That was a proper touring car race. I was getting pressure from [Tom] Ingram the whole time and that stopped me putting in more really quick laps, so fair play to him because he drove a good, clean and hard touring car race.
“But coming through the pack was really tough. I had [Neal’s] Honda coming at me at full speed which was rapid, even when it had full weight on it.
“It was tough living with the pace of some of them. Overall, for the weekend we have got to be pleased.”
The result made amends for an earlier setback in race two for the Chevrolet driver, requiring a trip to the pits to remove an advertising hoarding from the front of his machine and avoid further overheating problems.
The board was picked up in a turn one melee, Cook one of those taking to the grass to miss the spinning BMW of Andy Priaulx, telling TCF: “Race two was just a racing incident; trying to avoid a collision and I picked up that board.”
Looking ahead to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the season at Oulton Park, Cook promises similar pace at the Cheshire venue, the Bath driver a winner at the circuit in the BTCC-supporting Renault UK Clio Cup last season.
He concluded: “Oulton Park is one of my favourite tracks. I certainly think that we’ve got pace but there is also more that we can find in the car. There’s a few things I need to work on that I’ve discovered for qualifying, but I’m sure we’ll be right on the pace again.”
Cook now also takes an extended points lead in the Jack Sears Trophy to Oulton Park, leading nearest rookie rival Kieran Gallagher by 23 points.