Josh Cook says championship lead ‘means nothing at this point’

Josh Cook says championship lead ‘means nothing at this point’

Photo: PSP Images

BTC Racing’s Josh Cook believes the fact he leads the driver’s standings after the opening trio of races of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship “means nothing” at such an early stage of the season.

Cook’s running during practice and qualifying was marred by electrical gremlins, but he was pleased to qualify 11th before an inspired decision to run slicks in race one paid dividends with a commanding victory.

He then consolidated the win with seventh in race two despite carrying the maximum 54kg success ballast, before finishing fourth in the final race, which he feels was his strongest drive of the weekend.

Cook told TouringCars.Net that although having the championship lead is a positive, he remains focused on the rest of the season and scoring solid points at each round.

“It’s a nice thing to have, but it means nothing at this stage. Obviously we go to Donington [Park] with a bit of weight in now, but it’s been damage limitation for us today and somehow we’ve come out with really good points,” said Cook.

“Obviously race one helped, but everyone had the tyre choice, and for me I went with what I thought was the right tyre at the time – it wasn’t a gamble.

“I’m pleased with that. And race two it was damage limitation, just brought it home. I managed the drop-off with the weight, it’s the first time we’ve bolted softs on the car.

“Then race three it was about managing the issues which are still being addressed at the minute. Managing those, and to bring it home fourth, that was the drive of the day from my perspective. That’s where I feel I put in the best performance.”

Those recurring electrical problems continued into Sunday’s races, particularly in race three as Cook struggled with power delivery.

Despite the issues, he noted the hard-working atmosphere at BTC Racing, who have been trying to resolve the issue for the majority of the weekend.

“It’s mostly a continuation of those problems. But they are working hard and I’ve got to give credit where it’s due,” he said.

“The team is just so driven and professional, and it’s also a fun place to be, so I can’t knock them at all. I’m really happy with where I am.

“But we’re going to have tougher days, this day has gone well for us even when we’ve had it up against us. Not all of the days are going to be like this, so we’ll enjoy it.”

Cook admits the next round at Donington Park will be difficult given he will carry maximum ballast, but believes he will fare well as he has tasted success at the Leicestershire circuit in recent seasons.

He also focused on the importance of scoring points in each race, citing reigning champion Colin Turkington’s sole win last season en route to taking the title.

“We’ve got 54 kilos, it’s going to hurt us up the hill. I know what carrying weight is like at Donington, but I also know how to drive Donington,” Cook said.

“Like I said, today doesn’t mean anything. I’m just going there to try to bag as many points as I can – [Colin] Turkington won the championship with one race win last year.

“I’ll be doing what I can to get as many points – if another win is available I’m going to take it – but if it’s not, I’ll just bag the points.

“Like I said, I don’t feel any different. I’m not over the moon to be leading the championship because I know it doesn’t matter at this point. So we’ll just see how it goes next time out.”

That round at Donington Park National takes place on the 27/28 April for rounds four, five and six of the 2019 season.