Josh Cook wins rounds one and two and sets fastest lap in all three races
Awesome BTC Racing one-two in second race for Cook and Dan Cammish
Weekend best of P4 in Jack Sears Trophy battle for rookie Jade Edwards
BTC Racing take early lead of Teams Championship after first three rounds
Thruxton specialist Josh Cook got the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship off to a dream start for BTC Racing at the flat-out Hampshire track on Sunday, 9th May, by taking two outstanding back-to-back victories in rounds one and two of the new season.
Having only just missed out on pole position by 0.053 seconds in qualifying, Cook took the lead of round one just three corners into the encounter and was never headed – also setting fastest lap in his Honda Civic Type-R FK8. In round two, even with 75kg of success ballast onboard, Cook won and bagged fastest lap again and was ably assisted by team-mate Dan Cammish who starred in second.
Cammish, an eleventh-hour call-up to Brackley’s BTC for a one-off guest drive this weekend, was expectedly quick and impressive on his maiden outing with the team – race one of the weekend being his first dry mileage having had no testing. After taking fourth in race one and third in the Independents Trophy from 12th on the grid, second in race two sealed a deserved outright podium.
In the team’s PHSC with BTC Racing car, Jade Edwards finished in the overall top 20 on her debut in BTC colours and also 14th in the Independents and fourth in the Jack Sears Trophy battle. Aiming to make more progress in round two, she was forced out at the start with major damage after contact.
Round three turned into a lottery when rain arrived ahead of the start, resulting in some drivers changing to wet Goodyear tyres and others staying on slicks. Edwards had to retire her impressively repaired Honda early on, electrical problems the cause, while Cook and Cammish were 20th and 23rd respectively – both having had two pit-stops in the changeable conditions.
Lining-up on the front row of the grid, Cook was leap-frogged by the rear-wheel drive BMW of Colin Turkington but the BTC driver quickly hit back to re-take second into the complex. As he did so, pole qualifier Ash Sutton spun out of the lead after slight contact from Turkington and Cook immediately swept past into first place before the Safety Car was deployed following an incident in the pack.
Racing resumed on lap seven and Cook didn’t put a wheel wrong, setting the fastest lap of 1m16.500 seconds (110.87mph) on his way to a fantastic and very well controlled 2.3 second winning margin at the end of 19 laps.
Cammish raced superbly after slicing through from 12th on the grid to finish fifth, third in the Independents Trophy, before being elevated to fourth overall following a post-race penalty for Turkington. The highlight moment for Cammish came on lap 13 when the BTC driver gained two places in one move, slicing past the dueling Jason Plato and Rory Butcher as the trio exited Seagrave.
From 17th on the grid, Jade Edwards battled in the thick of the midfield action throughout and lapped competitively. Although edged back to 21st at one stage, she fought back well and concluded her first race for BTC inside the top 20, 14th in the Independents and fourth in the Jack Sears Trophy.
Cook started round two from pole thanks to his earlier win and, even with the ballast, the No.66 Honda launched fantastically as he led through Allard with Cammish – carrying 39kg of ballast – following in fourth. But no sooner had the race begun, the action was red flagged after a multi car tangle in which Edwards was caught-up as a completely innocent party.
After a delay of around half an hour the race re-started and Cook led away again at the second time of asking, with Cammish taking third off the line and then making it a BTC one-two at the exit of the complex. Shortly after, the Safety Car was deployed following another incident.
Racing resumed on lap six with Cook just a couple of tenths of a second ahead of Cammish, and the duo circulated pretty much nose-to-tail to the finish on lap 15. Cammish proved to be the perfect rear-gunner, playing a terrific team role, as Cook wrapped-up his richly deserved second win of the day and also took fastest lap once more with a time of 1m16.453 seconds (110.93 mph).
Just minutes before the start of race three, the arrival of rain delivered a major headache with regard to tyre choice. Cook opted for slick Goodyears, lining-up 10th on the grid, but was unfortunately given a stop-go penalty as his wheels weren’t fitted in time before the cut-off. He went on to finish in 20th place, after two stops, but again confirmed his speed with the fastest lap.
Cammish chose to change to treaded wet tyres on the grid and he moved through from the fifth row into the top six inside three laps. Soon enough, though, the rain ceased and conditions began to favour slicks. He pitted on lap seven to change tyres but as the race wore on the rain arrived again. After another stop, to revert to wets, he ended the race an unrepresentative 23rd.
BTC’s mechanics made a Herculean effort to repair Edwards’ badly damaged car in the very short window of time between races two and three. Hopes of a strong conclusion to the weekend were dashed, though, when niggling electrical gremlins triggered retirement early on.
Snetterton 300 Circuit in Norfolk will host rounds four, five and six of the BTCC season over the weekend 12th/13th June.
Josh Cook – BTC Racing Driver, No.66:
“Two wins from three races is never a bad weekend, I’m over the moon to have made such a strong start to the season. I’m really pleased for everyone at BTC the hard work we’ve been doing has paid off. In race two it definitely helped having my team-mate there with me, I’ve got to say huge thanks to Dan. Taking a one-two for BTC Racing, the second win of the day, it really did get things off to a dream start. The car was mega, even with the weight in, so huge credit to the team.”
Dan Cammish – BTC Racing Driver, No.27:
“It’s been a great weekend, a crazy finish – I’m not sure I’ve had many races that are that up and down! The weather was always going to play a role at some point, it didn’t know what it wanted to do [in race three]. We had great speed from BTC all weekend, Josh has had a mega weekend with two wins and a second and a fourth for myself is really good. I’m glad I could play a part in the success of today and I wish the team all the best for the future, it’s been a pleasure.”
Jade Edwards – BTC Racing Driver, No.99:
“We’ve got very positive foundations with the car, the team and me but we just didn’t have the luck. There are still things I need to work on, like my race starts, but the race two incident is obviously what essentially ruined our weekend. It’s disappointing, but there are plenty of positives to take to the next round. We’ve got five weeks until that so we can work on a lot of things before then.”
Steve Dudman – BTC Racing Owner and Team Principal:
“Overall I’m delighted with the weekend and for the team to have made such a strong and successful start to the season. Winning the first two races was fantastic, Josh did an amazing job, and with Dan there as well right behind him in race two it was a dream start really. Everyone at the team has done an incredible job.
“The weather played its part in race three, in hindsight I wish Josh had stayed with wets but mother nature well and truly bit us and Dan rolled the dice as well. Jade started very well in race one with a good drive and the team worked so hard to get her car back into good order, it was immaculate, for race three. Unfortunately, an electrical fault on the alternator ended her race early.”
BTCC Teams Championship
1st BTC Racing, 70pts
BTCC Independents Teams Championship
2nd BTC Racing, 45pts
BTCC Drivers Championship
2nd Josh Cook, 45pts; 5th Dan Cammish, 30pts
BTCC Independents Trophy
1st Josh Cook, 45pts; 4th Dan Cammish, 34pts; 17th Jade Edwards, 4pts
BTCC Jack Sears Trophy
8th Jade Edwards, 13pts