Josh Cook ‘gutted’ for Tom Ingram but hails ‘phenomenal’ performance of Honda Civic

BTC Racing’s Josh Cook admitted he was “gutted” for Tom Ingram but praised the “phenomenal” performance of his Honda Civic Type R in qualifying for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Croft.

Ingram had put his Toyota Gazoo Racing UK Corolla on provisional pole in changeable conditions at the 2.1-mile circuit but would fail the post-session ride height checks, promoting Cook to pole position for the opener tomorrow.

With Senna Proctor’s Hyundai also disqualified for the same infringement, resultantly race one will see an all-Honda front row with Jake Hill’s older FK2 Honda Civic lining up alongside Cook for MB Motorsport.

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While Cook was full of praise for his FK8 Honda Civic Type R, he lamented the fact that Ingram lost out on pole position, particularly given that he was on the receiving end of the same penalty after winning the opening race at Oulton Park on the road earlier in the season.

“It’s fairly ironic for me because I failed it [the ride height check] at Oulton Park and lost the win,” Cook told ITV. “But I’m gutted for those guys, it can be cruel sometimes.

“It was a mega job by the guys at BTC Racing. It’s been obvious that we’ve struggled on a Saturday over the past few weekends, we’ve worked really, really hard to since the last round and we just came out swinging in FP1 today.

“The car is phenomenal. I feel like we had a little bit more in the tank – I know everybody says that – but it was just a mega job by the guys at BTC.”

Having struggled for top end speed last time out at Silverstone, Cook was happy to be back on a circuit that favours chassis over straight line performance, and credited the work done by his squad and the help received from the Team Dynamics squad as turning points between rounds.

“We’ve struggled in a straight line basically, the chassis is mega and we proved that at Oulton, as soon as it rained, it’s a twisty track and it’s all about the handling and we were really quick there,” he explained.

“Then you get to Silverstone and we really struggled, but the guys and the girls at BTC have been working really hard and obviously the guys at Team Dynamics have been helping out a little bit so it’s good to be working with those guys again to resolve our issues.

“It’s credit to the team. It’s been a tough season, and all you can do is just get your head down and keep going, and that’s all we’ve done. It’s been a good day today but obviously it only counts tomorrow.”

Questioned on his expectations for tomorrow, Cook believes the tyre longevity he enjoys in his Honda Civic will favour him later in the race as the rear-wheel drive cars make progress through the pack.

“I’m hoping for three wins and three fastest laps, but I doubt that’s going to happen! We know we’ve got a good car – we’ve always got a better race car than we have a qualifying car – I know we look after our tyres really well which is super important on this circuit.

“Those rear-wheel drive cars are going to be coming through, so who knows? But it’s going to be one to watch, that’s for sure.”

The opening British Touring Car Championship race at Croft is scheduled to get underway tomorrow [11 October] at 12:02 BST.

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