Josh Cook delighted in his 16th career victory in the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, with a race one win which made him the circuit’s most successful BTCC driver.
BTC Racing’s Cook started from pole position and had to see off a stern challenge from MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill, who had briefly taken the lead on the run through Green corner.
Going around the outside of Hill’s BMW at Campbell, Cook re-claimed the lead and after that he held ground to win the race, despite continual race-long pressure from Hill.
Cook explained that he had expected Hill to come back at him as the race progressed, with Hill reducing Cook’s initial 1.3-second advantage to only a few tenths by the sixth lap.
“I managed to get a little bit of a break at the start, but I knew that Jake was going to probably be stronger towards the end of the race,” said Cook to TouringCars.Net.
“I had to look after my tyres and save my hybrid for the end, just so that when he started to put a bit of an attack on, I had something to defend with.
“I’m really pleased obviously to convert a pole to a win is always what we want to do, but we’ve got another two races yet.”
Cook expects that race two will again be a challenge, even though Hill will now have slightly fewer hybrid laps with which to attack Cook.
“Jake is obviously going to have a little bit less [hybrid] which might help me. Last year we managed to win race two with 75 kg on board, so at least we’ve got a consistent car, but that means everybody else has got a consistent car too, so we don’t really know how it’s going to affect them.
“They’re going to get a chance to tweak their car and make it a bit better as well because they’ve got consistency. It’s good and bad but at least we’ve got a bit of consistency with the hybrid allocation.
“It’s definitely helpful to defend [with hybrid]. Perhaps it’s not as obvious from the outside, but certainly inside the car it really, really helps when your tyres are going away or where you have weak areas
“You probably don’t quite see the extent of it from the outside, but if we all didn’t have it you’d really see a big change up, so it’s a really good tool for us to have in the car.”
Hampshire local Cook now has eight victories at Thruxton, more than any other BTCC driver.