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Josh Cook: ‘Thruxton was the happiest I’ve felt in the car’

Speedworks Motorsport’s Josh Cook says that Thruxton ‘was the happiest I’ve felt in the car’ as the Toyota driver scored a trio of top six finishes to consolidate his position in the British Touring Car Championship.

Cook, the undisputed ‘King of Thruxton’ thanks to his ten wins at the circuit, started the weekend slowly, having been 13th quickest in both of Saturday’s practice sessions.

Improving for qualifying, Cook put his Toyota in eighth on the grid after getting into Q2 and ending up within eight tenths of pole as the leading Corolla driver.

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From there, Cook quickly got past BMW’s Adam Morgan on the opening lap of Sunday’s first race, then passed EXCELR8 Motorsport’s Tom Chilton for sixth on lap five after a safety car restart.

After crossing the line in sixth, that later became fifth when NAPA Racing’s Daniel Rowbottom was penalised two places.

Cook ran briefly has high as fourth in race two, before ultimately slipping back to sixth.

Starting from third for the partially reversed-grid final race, Cook made a strong start to move into second early on and challenge Morgan for the race lead, but after NAPA’s Ash Sutton made a late lunge at Goodwood on the seventh lap, Cook found himself off-line and dropped to fifth.

He then dropped another place to Tom Ingram on the next lap, and he circulated there for the remainder to finish in sixth.

Despite missing a podium at his home circuit, Cook said he had felt happier with his car than he has all year.

“It wasn’t a bad weekend overall – just not quite as good as we had been hoping for,” said Cook. “I had a bit of a feeling going to Thruxton that it wouldn’t necessarily be our strongest circuit, and while we took steps forward in every session, we were missing a little bit of balance and grip through the high-speed sections.

“It’s always such fine margins there – you’re fighting for less than a tenth-of-a-second – and it’s so fast-and-flowing out the back of the lap that if you’re not completely in the window, it soon adds up.

“I went into Sunday targeting three solid points scores, which we achieved, and I think we extracted the maximum out of what we had, but ultimately, we just weren’t quite quick enough.

“The Corolla is still new to me, though, and the positive is that we’re making it better every time – Thruxton was the happiest I’ve felt in the car so far.

“We’re obviously not there yet, but it’s been a steady start to the season and we’ve been working methodically and slowly building.

“Whilst I clearly want to be up there winning, the most important thing is to make sure we are playing the long game and focussing on the bigger picture, and hopefully that approach will pay off in the end.”

Speedworks Team Principal Christian Dick praised Cook’s performance, which has seen him slip one place to sixth overall in the drivers’ standings.

“After the high of the double podium and all-Toyota top three finish at Snetterton, it was always going to be a tall order to replicate that kind of form at Thruxton,” said Dick.

“We certainly gave it our best shot and it was encouraging to see Josh fighting right up towards the sharp end throughout race day.

“We all know how quick he is around there, and he consistently hustled every last drop of performance out of the Corolla to achieve three very strong finishes that keep him firmly in contention in the championship standings.”

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