BTCC’s ‘King of Thruxton’ speeds to trio of top six finishes

12th June 2024

Josh Cook continued his stellar form at his home circuit of Thruxton last weekend (8-9 June), fighting hard to secure a full house of top six finishes in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship behind the wheel of his LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ Toyota Corolla GR Sport.
Cook has always been a contender at Thruxton – the fastest track in the country – and he duly lined up eighth on the grid amongst the 20 high-calibre protagonists in qualifying. He missed out on advancing to the session’s final phase – the ‘Quick Six’ – by a scant 14 thousandths-of-a-second, or in layman’s terms, next-to-nothing.
In front of the live ITV4 cameras and a capacity trackside crowd the next day, passes on Adam Morgan and Tom Chilton saw the Bath-born ace – two times an Independents’ title-winner in the UK’s premier motor racing series – climb to sixth in the curtain-raising contest, prior to being elevated to fifth when another driver picked up a penalty. The third-quickest lap time – bettered only by the top two finishers – further underscored Cook’s mastery of the daunting Hampshire circuit.
The 32-year-old fleetingly ran fourth in race two as he took advantage of a squabble ahead. For a while, he looked like he might mount a threat for the podium, before slipping back to sixth and thereafter artfully fending off four-time BTCC champion Colin Turkington to the close. He repeated that result in the weekend’s finale, in which he featured as high as second over the course of a feisty opening few laps and put Morgan under intense pressure for the lead.
In the sister British-built Corolla – prepared by Northwich, Cheshire-based Speedworks Motorsport – team-mate Aiden Moffat was denied a late chance to escape Q1 in qualifying by yellow flags that thwarted the Scot’s efforts to improve, leaving him a frustrated 14thon the grid.
With overtaking no easy task around Thruxton, the 27-year-old Dalkeith native took the chequered flag in the same position in race one – engaging in a prolonged duel with fellow Toyota driver Andrew Watson along the way – and then progressed to finish 12th in race two. 
Moffat was on the move again in race three and had just passed Chilton for ninth on lap two when the lightest of contact between the pair pitched him off the road at high speed at Church corner. Despite skilfully keeping his Toyota away from the barriers, the delay sent him plummeting well down the order, from where he recovered to 15th to sneak the final point on offer.
LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ will travel next to Speedworks’ home circuit of Oulton Park on 22-23 June, for the final event ahead of the BTCC’s traditional summer break.
Christian Dick, Team Principal, LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ, said:
“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, but 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.
“Aiden obviously had a trickier weekend, and when you start further back at Thruxton, it’s tough to come through as the field is so closely-bunched and overtaking is difficult. He was going really well in race three until the contact with Chilton, which denied him a top ten result, but thankfully there was no damage to the car and he will come back stronger at Oulton Park, I have no doubt.”
Josh Cook, Driver, LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ, said:
“It wasn’t a bad weekend overall – just not quite as good as we had been hoping for. 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.”
Aiden Moffat, Driver, LKQ Euro Car Parts with SYNETIQ, said:
“That was what I guess you would call a character-building weekend! We travelled to Thruxton aiming to keep the momentum going from our success at Snetterton, but at the same time, mindful that it was a very different kind of circuit that might not play to our advantage quite so much.
“Sadly, that turned out to be the case, and following another ‘tyre-saving’ Saturday, when we had some issues with the rear of the car and consequently struggled for speed, we went into Sunday fully focussed on moving forward.
“We scored a few points in races one and two and looked like coming away with a significantly bigger haul from race three, which would have been a good way to finish the weekend but then we had the contact with Chilton at Church, and that really isn’t the kind of place where you want to be sent spinning across the grass! Luckily we didn’t hit anything and were able to recover, but by that stage, any chance of a decent result was gone.
“That was obviously disappointing just as we had seemed to finally be getting somewhere, but let’s take the positives from the weekend and move on to Oulton Park, where we will hopefully be more competitive.” © 2024
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