Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship squad Rich Energy BTC Racing is aiming to keep up its table-topping form in the three races at Oulton Park in Cheshire this weekend and driver Josh Cook is seeking to add to his four wins in the 2022 campaign.
Cook heads the chase for the drivers’ crown and the Honda Civic Type R operation sits on top of the Independents teams’ table after three of the 10 meetings of the season. Team-mates Jason Plato and Jade Edwards are on the verge of making major breakthroughs after nine races so far this term.
Cook, who will have restricted use of the new hybrid power boost this weekend as he is the points leader, says he is going to the venue in an attacking mood.
“Even though I am leading the table, it is too early to be conservative and look at the points situation – we still need to be gunning for wins and trying to maintain at least a 30-point average across each race weekend,” says the Bath ace. “It is all about victories and podiums.
“Oulton is a drivers’ dream and although I might be giving away time on the straights to the other cars that have their allocation of hybrid power, it means I can simply focus on getting the most out of the car in the fast corners and make up my time that way. It will be more of a pure challenge for me, and that is something I love.”
Plato scored his first top six finish of the season last time out at Thruxton in May and rates this weekend’s Cheshire track among the best in the UK.
Jason Plato says: “It is one of my favourite tracks and I am really fired up for the three races this weekend. My pace has been strong across all the weekends so far this season and I am getting more and more familiar with the car. I feel the little intricacies of the car more now and I am homing in on nailing it.
“Josh is driving at a world-class level at the moment and using all of his experience with the car, and I am learning the tricks all the time. Going to Oulton, I genuinely feel I am going to be on the button there. If I can qualify in the front two rows in qualifying, there is no reason I can’t be winning. I feel I am on the verge of something big.”
Jade Edwards thinks that the Honda Civic Type R will be the perfect weapon around the 2.26-mile parkland circuit and she is going to the event on the front foot.
“Historically the Civic has been fast at Oulton, and the track provides a challenge that I really enjoy: it is one of the longer tracks, and nailing a perfect lap there is always difficult,” she says. “Who knows, we might get some typical British summer weather too, and that is something that would also play into my hands.
“We know the Honda is a chassis well suited to the track and I am going to build on the positives that I have had so far this season and look to climb up the order. Points has to be the target and I will be aiming as high as I possibly can.”
Team principal Danny Buxton knows that the intense competition with the BTCC will make it hard to remain at the top, but he thinks that all three drivers will have a chance to shine this weekend.
“It will be down to Josh to focus on himself this weekend and maximising the potential of the package without that much hybrid use, and we need to make sure we come away from the weekend without any dramas and gaining every point that we possibly can,” says Buxton.
“Jason continues to impress me, and he needs a little bit of lady luck. He should, by rights, have landed some big results already given the impressive lap times he is able to extract from the car. We know the speed is there and that is an encouraging sign. One weekend will break for Jade soon too and she will land some big points. She needs to trust that the level of intensity and the level of preparation she puts in will pay off.
“As a team, we are in a really good place and everyone is pulling together so well. It is important for us to keep up that level of focus. I was quite demanding when I came into the team at the start of the year. Since that hard work has gone in and people in the team can see the rewards, that only makes you hungrier for more silverware. Bring it on.”
Coverage of this weekend’s meeting will be live on ITV1 from 1210hrs on Sunday through until 1510hrs. ITV4 will carry the rest of the day’s action from 1500hrs and qualifying on Saturday will be streamed live on the ITV.com website. Race one is scheduled to start at 1220hrs, race two at 1425hrs and the finale will kick off at 1710hrs.