BTC Racing’s Josh Cook admitted he “almost dropped it” multiple times in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Croft after choosing a bold setup on his Honda Civic Type R.
The polesitter made a strong start to the race as fellow front row starter Jake Hill struggled off the line and came under pressure from the BMW duo of Colin Turkington and Tom Oliphant.
Once Hill re-passed Turkington, he then applied pressure to Cook’s Honda in the early stages, with the pair even running side-by-side across the start finish line at the end of the opening lap.
Cook then built a comfortable margin at mid-distance before Hill came back at him in the closing laps, with the former able to hold on to take his second victory of the season.
“That was a tough race, I almost dropped it quite a few times actually! Lucky to bring it back, obviously Jake was adding a lot of pressure so I’m just pleased to bring it home P1 for the guys at BTC Racing,” Cook told ITV.
“It was fairly damp out the back and I was pretty brave in the engineer’s office, but it turns out you’ve got to back it up when you’re out on circuit and that was not easy.
“So we’ll probably tone it down a little bit for the next race – I’ve had probably about five years knocked off my life expectancy I think after that race!”
Carrying 60kg of success ballast into the next race at Croft, Cook believes the rear-wheel drive contenders of Turkington and former team-mate Ash Sutton will be strong and is ready to “get his elbows out” to defend his lead.
“Obviously we spent a lot of the year last year carrying weight so we’ve got a decent amount of data,” he said.
“Obviously the guys behind, Colin and Ash are going to be taking some weight out. So I’m going to just have to get my elbows out, make it as wide as possible, and I think it’ll be another race of just trying to keep everybody behind me and bring it home.”
The second race of the day at Croft is scheduled to get underway at 14:29 BST.