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BTC team hail Cook’s Brands Hatch BTCC defensive masterclass

BTC Racing has hailed Josh Cook’s victory in the second race at Brands Hatch last weekend as one of the finest defensive performances in British Touring Car Championship history.

Josh Cook, Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Former BTCC racer and McLaren customer racing head Danny Buxton was recruited by BTC owner Steve Dudman to take the team principal role for his squad of Honda Civic Type Rs in 2022, and oversaw Cook’s first victory of the season in damp conditions in race one.

The West Country racer, third in the BTCC points last season, then soaked up pressure throughout the second race, initially from the BMW of Jake Hill and then from the Ford of Dan Cammish.

Cook beat Cammish to victory by 0.253 seconds, despite recording the 15th fastest laptime of the 24 drivers who finished the race – his best was 0.535s slower than Cammish, and 0.990s adrift of the race fastest lap of Ford driver Ash Sutton.

Those victories came after Cook’s Honda had been the fastest front-wheel-drive car in qualifying, fifth quickest behind four BMWs.

Cook’s backing by the KX Akademy scheme allowed him to earn a seat in the 2014 Renault Clio UK Cup with the SV Racing squad of Buxton, who subsequently took on an ongoing coaching and mentoring role with his protege when he moved into the BTCC.

“Saturday was excellent,” Buxton told Autosport. “To be as close as we were to the BMWs in the dry was impressive.

“On Sunday, when I saw the conditions I had a little wry smile. I’ve worked with him such a long time and I had a hunch what was coming.

“Race one was brilliant, and some of the moves he made on class acts of the BTCC were proper.

“But race two… Is there anyone in a touring car who’s been under such pressure and not made a mistake and still had decent speed? I’d like to see it.”

Josh Cook, Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R

Josh Cook, Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Buxton confirmed what appeared to be the case: that Cook’s Honda, which as first-race winner was on a 15-lap reduction of hybrid boost, was set up to favour the wetter conditions earlier in the race.

“He did have an issue with the balance in race two,” he said.

“There was too much understeer and he wasn’t content, which makes the fact that he kept people behind him even more impressive.

“It is easier to defend at the Brands Indy circuit than most other tracks, but you’ve still got to manage the apex speeds to the car behind.”

Cook’s wins were also the first for the new M-Sport-built TOCA engine, despite all 14 users of that powerplant facing a boost reduction of 20 millibars since the opening round at Donington Park.

He went on to finish eighth from 12th on the grid in the reversed-grid finale, meaning he is second in the standings, eight points behind Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai racer Tom Ingram.

The next round is at Thruxton, where Cook has scored seven of his 15 BTCC race wins to date.

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