There was more silverware for the One Motorsport with Starline Racing team at the eighth meeting of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park last weekend despite some challenging races for all three of the team’s drivers.
Josh Cook claimed the Independents’ Trophy win – his 12th of the campaign – in the second of the three races on the Grand Prix layout of the East Midlands track and consolidated his position in the top six of the overall drivers’ points.
Team-mates Aiden Moffat and Jade Edwards were full of praise for the efforts of the Brackley-based team as they battled to break into the points-paying positions over three challenging events.
Cook lined up on the third row of the grid for the opening race which took place in sodden conditions following a downpour just before the start. He tiptoed around the 14 laps to bring his Honda Civic Type R home in a competitive seventh place. He improved to fifth and the Independents’ win in the second race before technical trouble ruled him out of the finale.
“We had a challenging weekend, which was once again not helped by the typical English weather,” reflected Cook. “We had not experienced the Donington Grand Prix circuit before this meeting and the conditions in qualifying on Saturday didn’t help, and so that meant the three races on Sunday were a journey into the unknown.
“The wet track in the opening race meant we were taking a gamble on the set-up, but it was an educated guess with lots of work in the background. To walk away with the Independents’ Trophy win in race two was a bonus, but I am always looking ahead for overall wins.
“We found it harder to reach the ultimate pace as the track dried for the following two rounds, but we had the speed to put us solidly inside the top 10. That is a testament to how hard the One Motorsport with Starline Racing crew worked to understand the car and what I needed from it. In race three, we were thwarted by a hybrid technical problem which was out of our control which forced me to retire.
“It was a weekend which didn’t deliver the results that we wanted and it was a learning experience for myself and for the team. We will take lessons from it and look ahead to being right back at the sharp end for the remaining two meetings this season.”
Moffat paid tribute to the engineering efforts of the One Motorsport with Starline Racing staff as he sought to reach the ultimate pace. He was thwarted in the races by a puncture and an electrical problem and left the meeting with a feeling of what might have been.
“We were changing the set-up with every session trying to unlock the pace we wanted,” said the Scotsman. “We were aiming to use some of the lessons we learned at the previous round at Knockhill but they didn’t click for us.
“The car has been good in the last few meetings, but we struggled a bit initially at Donington. Despite that, the crew did a really good job and getting the most out of it as we went along the meeting and we ended up getting the most out of it in the end.
“The team – the boys and girls – have been working so hard and they have been putting in so much effort that I feel a little disappointed for them as well as for myself. We have come a long way and we have worked tirelessly, and we need to continue that progress.”
It was also a frustrating weekend for Edwards. Contact in the opening race ruined her charge and meant she had to make an unscheduled pit stop, and she was left on the back foot from there. She finished the final two races of the meeting and is now looking ahead to the remainder of the season.
Edwards said: “It was a tough weekend for everyone at One Motorsport with Starline Racing. We worked hard on the set-up of the Honda throughout the weekend but, essentially, we were testing during a race weekend, which always results on us being on the back foot a bit. When you throw in some mixed conditions and contact in race one, which forced me into the pits and put me a lap down, we found ourselves having a very trying weekend overall.
“I know everyone at the One Motorsport with Starline Racing crew will bounce back at Silverstone and we will be striving for the results that our hard work deserves.”
Team owner Steve Dudman said that while the on-track results might not have been what the squad wanted, there were some positives to take away from Donington Park which will help improve the One Motorsport with Starline Racing challenge in the future.
“It has been a tough weekend for the entire crew,” said Dudman. “My heart goes out to everyone who put so much effort in. The work that goes on behind the scenes is amazing and we always come to each meeting with the cars in pristine condition and everyone has a really positive attitude and, despite a difficult weekend, we are still positive.
“We are learning about the cars all the time and we have uncovered some things this weekend which will take us forward.
“Josh was really consistent, and he took two points-scoring finishes before a hybrid overheating problem caused him to retire – and that was out of our hands. We chose to stop the car because a hybrid issue can lead to all sorts of other problems.
“It was a challenge for Aiden and Jade, but they worked well with the team and everyone knows that you can learn just as much from the difficult weekends as you can from the positive ones. We are bruised but we are very motivated to come back at Silverstone, put those lessons into place to be right back at the sharp end of the grid.”
The next rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, the ninth meeting of the 2023 campaign, will take place at the world-famous Silverstone circuit on September 23-24.