Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship squad One Motorsport with Starline Racing was celebrating more silverware at the sixth meeting of the season at Knockhill in Scotland last weekend in an event which tested competitors to their limits.
During a day of wildly variable weather, Josh Cook battled hard for the lead in the opening encounter before claiming a popular second spot in the final race of the weekend. Home-town hero Aiden Moffat capped his weekend with a storming comeback drive to seventh in race three while Jade Edwards knocked hard on the door of the points-paying positions with a competitive showing.
Cook was on the ultimate pace all through the trip to Scotland and lined up his Honda Civic Type R on the front row of the grid. He battled hard with poleman Ash Sutton before grabbing the lead with a dramatic overtaking move just before the mid-point of the 27-lapper. As Sutton tried to reassert himself in top spot, the pair made contact at Duffus Dip corner which caused Cook’s car to slide off into the tyre wall.
That meant the Independents’ Trophy points leader was forced to fight from the lower reaches of the grid in race two, but he manfully climbed through the pack to eighth. In the weekend’s final showdown, Cook was among the fastest on the soaking track as he powered through the pack to finish in second place.
“It was a pretty good weekend at Knockhill. The weather played its part in race one and contributed to the non-finish, which was disappointing as we had been right in the hunt for glory,” said Cook. “However, to bounce back from that was a credit to the hard work all the team and engineers at One Motorsport with Starline Racing are putting in, as they have done all year.
“The car was pretty badly damaged after the race-one accident, but the crew did a great job to get me back out there, and that allowed me to go from the back of the grid in race two up to eighth at the flag. That was the hard work we needed to put us in with a shout of the rostrum in the end.”
Finishing in second place in race three also meant Cook won the Independents’ Trophy in that event. He now has a 93-point lead in the chase for the silverware with nine rounds remaining.
“Although it feels like we deserved a bit more from the weekend, we can be encouraged by the pace we showed,” added Cook. “We know we can mix it at the sharp end.”
Team-mate Aiden Moffat was the darling of the home fans at the Fife circuit – the track where he made his BTCC debut 10 years beforehand. The Dalkeith racer was in fine form in qualifying and placed his car on the fourth row.
He braved it out on slick tyres in the opening event, which was hit by a mid-race downpour. Moffat decided to remain on track and try to cope with the conditions on his slick dry-weather tyres. He zoomed up the order to second place, but he was later caught out as the rain intensified and he slipped off the track.
In race two some electrical gremlins clouded his pace and he finished 19th, but that set up a mighty charge in the final event of the weekend. The 26-year-old sliced his way up the pack to claim seventh place and a top-three finish in the Independents division.
“We took a good step with the car this weekend. We had a lot of pace in the dry and we were fighting for the podium in race one. We had taken a gamble with the slick tyres that only narrowly failed to pay off – but it was a punt worth taking and I would have done it again in the same circumstances.”
After struggling with technical issues in race two, Moffat’s return to form in race three was spectacular as he rose through the battle pack.
“It was really a weekend of ‘what could have been’ if we had managed to carry over our pace from qualifying and the first race,” reflected Moffat. “I am a little but frustrated to have had that bad luck at my home circuit, but it is nevertheless encouraging for the three remaining weekends to come. The pace we had found should give us a real chance.”
In her second weekend on her return to the Brackley-based team, Edwards powered to the 10th row in qualifying and was aiming to build on her familiarity with the Honda Civic. Edwards said she felt more at home in the two-litre turbocharged machine on the demanding 1.3-mile track.
Like team-mate Moffat, Edwards gambled by remaining on dry-weather slick tyres during the mid-race downpour in race one and was running as high as sixth place before the rain intensified. She brought the car home in 17th spot.
“The day turned after that,” said Edwards. “A rival made contact with me in race two, and then we had a real struggle in the rain in race three. Hats off to the team for getting my car ready for the finale but I really struggled on the damp track.
“Nevertheless, we will take the positives though and hope that at some point we will get that point that we deserve in the very near future,” she added.
The next rounds of the championship will throw something new at the racers with three rounds on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit, a layout which has not been used for more than 20 years for a BTCC race. The events take place on August 26-27.