Rich Energy BTC Racing's Josh Cook admitted qualifying 'was by no means easy' despite romping to pole position for Sunday's opening British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton.

The Honda driver produced a 1'15.310s lap in the dying minutes of qualifying, which was good enough to deny BMW's Jake Hill by just 0.077s around the Hampshire circuit.

The Cook/BTC Racing Honda looked a potent combination from the word go in FP1, but the Thruxton maestro said he 'lost the sweet spot of the balance' during the early stages of qualifying.

"That qualifying was by no means easy," Cook told Crash.net. "FP1 and FP2 was good, but we lost a bit of the sweet spot of the balance at the start of qualifying. I was struggling.

"We made another couple of changes for the second run, which isn’t something you normally want to do in qualifying. We dialled a few extra bits in the car. It was lively, but we hung onto it and there was a lap in it.

"It’s always a bit sweeter when you’ve had to work a bit harder for it. I’m happy for me and I’m happy for the team."

The 30-year old did jump to the top of the timesheets at the start of qualifying, but that lap was taken away from him for a track limit infringement. That meant Cook saved his best effort until last, which saw him take his third pole position in the series.

As virtue of sitting second in the points standings, Cook impressively produced that lap with the bare minimum of hybrid deployment, with only championship leader Tom Ingram having less power to deploy than the BTC Honda driver. Ingram, incidentally, qualified in eighth position.

"I’m not really sure why (they deleted my lap). I can only assume it was a track limits deletion. That’s why they do it," Cook continued.

"We don’t work on single lap pace and that’s it, we make sure we’ve got a good race car because there’s a lot more points on a Sunday than there is on a Saturday! All we need to is to be in the mix on a Saturday. I’m mega pleased with pole.

"We’ve given ourselves the best chance but it doesn’t mean anything come Sunday. We need to convert that and make sure we score strong points."