Cook bemoans “heartbreaking” failures in BTCC Snetterton qualifying

British Touring Car Championship title contender Josh Cook has described failures on his BTC Racing Honda in Snetterton qualifying as “heartbreaking” after the team appeared to have unlocked pace from its Honda cars.

Cook bemoans “heartbreaking” failures in BTCC Snetterton qualifying

Cook, who is fifth in the points, will line his Civic Type R up in 22nd position on the grid for race one, while veteran team-mate Jason Plato produced what he described as one of the best laps of his career for sixth place.

Cook shot into the series lead with four wins from the first three race weekends, but since then he has struggled in qualifying – 10th at Oulton Park, 20th at Croft and 14th at Knockhill.

Suspicions have fallen upon the new-for-2022 M-Sport-supplied TOCA customer engine, which is used by the three BTC Hondas of Cook, Plato and Jade Edwards as well as 11 other cars among the 29-strong field.

But since May, BTCC technical officials have not found reason to adjust the engine’s relative boost compared to other powerplants based on their usual measurements of performance parameters.

Cook told Autosport that ongoing work from BTC has improved the installation, as well as the chassis, which is already renowned as one of the best in the BTCC, but that simultaneous – and unrelated – failures of the throttle body and hybrid system had scuppered his qualifying effort.

“It was on my best lap of the weekend,” he said. “At the start of the session I planned to get a tow off the BMWs, but got traffic, boxed, and went again to do it on my own.

“The chassis was phenomenal – probably the best it’s been all year – but the hybrid system and throttle body both failed.

“I think we’ve done a lot to make up the deficit in straightline speed this weekend – without my failure I’d have been similar to where Jason was I think [Cook was 0.001 seconds up on Plato’s first sector time].

“It’s just another case of kicking us while we’re down, with stuff outside our control.

“It [the improvement] is encouraging, and the investment from the team is sickening with what they’ve had to do, which is what makes today so heartbreaking.

“It could have been on any lap at any time, but it had to be on the one that counted.”

Jason Plato, Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R

Jason Plato, Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda Civic Type R

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Plato’s estimation is that the BTC Hondas are still lacking 5mph on straightline speed compared to their opposition.

“My performance today was pole position perfect if we had an engine that works,” he said, “and it simply doesn’t.

“I’m really pleased with my car and the team did a brilliant job, but I won’t be able to race.

“Once I’m near someone, they slow me in the corners and that’s where we’re good – based on our data, no one’s going through them better than we are.”

shares
comments
BTCC Snetterton: Turkington pips Hill to take last gasp pole
Previous article

BTCC Snetterton: Turkington pips Hill to take last gasp pole

Next article

BTCC Snetterton: Turkington dominates opener from Hill

BTCC Snetterton: Turkington dominates opener from Hill
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Plus

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021