2018 TCR UK Series: Oulton Park

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship arrived at Oulton Park in Cheshire for its “One Day Special” event in Cheshire for its fifth weekend of racing.

This event ran on the Saturday only due to noise restrictions, however it saw a new entry in Tim Docker. Docker was entered as the third Maximum Motorsport driver, piloting the ex-Motorbase Volkswagen Golf which he has also driven in Britcar competition this year.

A last minute change of driver saw reigning BTCC Champion Ash Sutton step in for Finlay Crocker, who was unable to compete at the Cheshire circuit due to business commitments.

It can be safely said that Sutton left his mark on the Championship…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Oulton Park:

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Super-sub Sutton secures Oulton Park pole on TCR UK debut

Verizon Connect Racing’s Ash Sutton secured pole position on his TCR UK début at Oulton Park with a supreme lap that was 0.567 seconds quicker than WestCoast Racing’s Dan Lloyd.

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Having topped Friday’s second test session and then Saturday morning’s Free Practice session, Sutton marked himself as the man to beat around the Oulton Park International circuit.

The Honda Civic Type R driver went to the top of the times on his first full flying lap in the 30-minute qualifying session, posting a lap of 1 minute 42.348 seconds. That time put Sutton at the top by a comfortable margin over the TCR UK series points leader Lloyd, who left it until late in the session to secure a front-row grid position for the first race of the day, setting his best time with just two minutes to go.

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Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor was third, just under eight tenths behind team-mate Sutton, having been set for a Pyro 1-2 until Lloyd’s Volkswagen separated the Hondas. Andreas Bäckman (WestCoast Racing) was fourth fastest in his Golf GTi, whilst DPE Motorsport’s Derek Palmer Jr secured a best qualifying result of the season in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta by going fifth.

Also taking a best qualifying result of the year was CUPRA driver Stewart Lines in sixth, ahead of the third WestCoast Racing Volkswagen of Jessica Bäckman in seventh. Lewis Kent was eighth quickest in his Hyundai, after his team had to work flat-out after the practice session to fix a problem with his front-left wheel hub, which saw him lose a wheel earlier in the day.

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The second DPE Motorsport Alfa Romeo of Robert Gilmour and Maximum Motorsport’s second CUPRA of Carl Swift rounded off the top ten, whilst the Maximum Motorsport-run Volkswagen of Tim Docker completed the times in 11th.

Swift secured the pole position for race two, which is set by the reversed second fastest times of each driver, with Sutton alongside him.

Sutton sprints to victory in interrupted race one

Ash Sutton claimed his maiden win in the TCR UK series with a dominant display in a disrupted race one, with the Verizon Connect Racing driver winning by over 16 seconds from WestCoast Racing’s Dan Lloyd.

2018-2018 Oulton Park Race 1---2018 UK Oulton PK R1, 88 Ashley Sutton_2

The first start saw Sutton hold on to his lead into Turn 1 as behind him Ollie Taylor slipped past Lloyd to claim second. However, after just one lap of racing, the red flags were brought out when Robert Gilmour and Carl Swift tangled at Island bend, making heavy contact with the barriers and causing extensive damage to both the Alfa Romeo and the CUPRA.

After a half-hour delay whilst the barriers were repaired, the race restarted as a 15-minute sprint to the flag. Sutton immediately got down to business, opening up a clear gap, whilst behind him Derek Palmer Jr moved into second at the first corner.

Palmer would then hold that position for the remainder of the race, despite pressure from firstly Taylor and latterly Lloyd. However, the Alfa Romeo driver would be demoted to fourth upon completion of the race, due to receiving a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits.

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That gave Lloyd second and allowed the Volkswagen driver to extend his championship lead, whilst his team-mate Andreas Bäckman completed the podium after Taylor was also given a 10-second penalty for being out of position on the starting grid.

Lewis Kent took fifth in his Hyundai, whilst Jessica Bäckman was sixth in her Volkswagen.

Stewart Lines followed up his best qualifying of the year with another points finish in seventh as the only CUPRA driver to finish, whilst Taylor was classified in eighth after his penalty was applied. TCR UK newcomer Tim Docker completed the classified finishers in ninth.

Sutton reigns supreme in action-packed Oulton Park Race Two

Ash Sutton continued his dominance of the TCR UK races at Oulton Park with a second successive lights-to-flag win in race two, as Ollie Taylor pipped Lewis Kent to second place on the last lap.

2018-2018 Oulton Park Race 2---2018 UK Oulton PK R1, 38 Lewis Kent_2

Sutton inherited pole position when reverse-grid pole-sitter Carl Swift was unable to take up his pole position after a shunt in race one. That gave Sutton a clear run down to the first corner on the opening lap, and the Honda Civic Type-R racer never looked back.

Second went to Taylor on the very last corner of the final lap, as several laps of sustained pressure on Kent finally paid dividends for the title challenger. Kent completed the podium in third, having run over the grass on the run up to the finish, to claim his second silverware of the season.

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Lloyd took the chequered flag in fourth, although the championship leader received three points on his licence and a five-place grid penalty for his next race following contact with Stewart Lines on lap seven, whilst the duo were scrapping for what was then the final podium place.

Jessica Bäckman finished in fifth, whilst Lines took the finish in sixth after losing significant time in the contact with Lloyd at Cascades. The CUPRA driver was buoyed after posting the fastest lap of the race.

Tim Docker and Andreas Bäckman completed the top ten, the latter after having to pit to deal with gearbox issues.

2018-2018 Oulton Park Saturday---2018 UK Oulton PK, 26 Jessica Backman_3

Derek Palmer had been running in the final podium position, but the Alfa Romeo driver went off at Lodge Corner on lap six and retired from the race. Neither Carl Swift (Maximum Motorsport) nor Robert Gilmour (DPE Motorsport) took the start due to the damage their cars sustained in race one.

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship resumes for its penultimate weekend of action at Croft in Yorkshire on the 8th and 9th September.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

2018-2018 Oulton Park Friday---2018 UK Oulton PK, 27 Tim Docker_1

Oulton Park showed us one of several things: Ash Sutton left his mark on the Championship…

The reigning BTCC Champion filled in for Finlay Crocker in the Pyro Motorsports run Verizon Connect Racing Honda Civic TCR and promptly took the car to being Fastest in Practice, setting Pole Position in Qualifying and then romping home to take both of the race wins.

Championship leader Daniel Lloyd has some competition! Now just imagine how the series would have looked with just Croft and Donington Park left if Ash had also run a dual campaign over the season. That would have been an impressive fight!

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What was also good to see were the CUPRA’s and the Alfa Romeo’s showing good pace with improved Qualifying and Race paces respectively. Maximum Motorsport have been threatening this form since Brands Hatch and I suspect they will be challenging for more podiums at Croft and Donington Park.

With Croft and Donington Park looming on the horizon, this also means that the first ever season of TCR UK is slowly winding down. However there are so many more stories to be told before the end of the final race at Donington Park in October. The series has done well so far and there is a lot of talk about a bigger entry for 2019 after seeing the racing and cars in action this year.

For me, its all about seeing if Ollie Taylor can catch Dan Lloyd. Retirements can happen and its been seen before where a massive championship lead advantage has been zeroed or lost. The final two weekends of the year will have four more exciting weekends with the chance that there could always another twist in the tale.

2018-2018 Oulton Park Saturday---2018 UK Oulton PK, 76 Robert Gilmour_3

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

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2018 TCR UK Series: Castle Combe

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Castle Combe in Wiltshire for its fourth weekend of racing.

This event has been one of the most talked about rounds with the fans on Social Media as top line Touring Car Racing raced at the circuit for the first time.

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Castle Combe:

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Taylor snatches Castle Combe pole by three thousandths of a second

Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor secured pole position for the opening TCR UK race at Castle Combe, eclipsing championship leader Dan Lloyd by just 0.003s.

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Lloyd had set the pace earlier on in the half-hour session, only to be denied in the latter stages from scoring a fourth consecutive pole position by Taylor’s impressive effort.

Consolation for Lloyd is that he will start second in both the races, with his second-best time ensuring a front-row start in the reverse-grid contest at the 1.85-mile Wiltshire circuit. Lloyd led a WestCoast Racing trio in front of Andreas Bäckman who heads the second row with sibling Jessica for company with a time within a second of Taylor’s benchmark.

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Lewis Kent jumped from ninth to fifth in the second half of the session, with a time of 1:08.238, meaning the Brands Hatch podium finisher will start from the third row of the grid. Finlay Crocker was sixth, 1.265 seconds off pole position, ahead of the Maximum Motorsport CUPRAs of Carl Swift and Stewart Lines in seventh and eighth respectively.

Derek Palmer (DPE Motorsport) was ninth in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, with Darelle Wilson rounding out the top ten with a time he set before his session-ending incident.

Due to his accident Wilson was set to start race two from reverse-grid pole, but his participation is looking uncertain after he sustained heavy damage after an off into the infield at Bobbies. The Alfa Romeo of Robert Gilmour was forced to miss the session after an earlier ECU problem.

Ollie Taylor takes first TCR UK win at Castle Combe

Ollie Taylor secured his first TCR UK win after surviving contact with Dan Lloyd’s Volkswagen Golf on the final lap.

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Standings leader Lloyd made a poor start and dropped back on the opening lap, but survived drama at Quarry Corner as Jessica Bäckman and a fast-starting Finlay Crocker made contact. Crocker’s Verizon Connect Racing’s Honda went across the grass and hit Stewart Lines, forcing the latter to retire with radiator damage.

The safety car was then deployed, and Lloyd began to progress once the race got back underway, passing Lewis Kent on the start/finish straight after forcing him into an error through Camp Corner. He then made his way past team-mate Andreas Bäckman – who eventually completed the podium – before setting his sights on polesitter Taylor.

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He steadily reduced the gap before making a last-gasp move into Quarry Corner, hitting the side of Taylor’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 before completing the overtake at The Esses. Taylor attempted to fight back but was forced to settle for second, ahead of Andreas Bäckman and Kent, who tried to challenge the Swedish racer in the middle phase of the race.

The top five was rounded out by Carl Swift’s CUPRA, who had breathing space at the line after a tense battle with Derek Palmer’s Alfa Romeo, which slowed on circuit after challenging Swift and pitted with a few laps remaining. That DNF continued DPE Motorsport’s woes as Palmer’s teammate Robert Gilmour did not contest the opening race due to an ongoing ECU problem.

Afterwards the Stewards overturned the race win and awarded this to Taylor, with Lloyd’s move being deemed as Un-Sportsman-like.

Dan Lloyd secures his seventh win of 2018 campaign

Dan Lloyd won a dramatic reverse-grid race at Castle Combe to take his seventh TCR UK victory this season, ahead of Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor.

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Lloyd started the race from pole and faced early pressure from Carl Swift, who made a great start to challenge Lloyd around the outside at Quarry Corner on the opening lap, before settling for second for the remainder of the lap.

Race one winner Taylor made progress on the opening lap, and eventually hunted down Lewis Kent and then Carl Swift to take the chequered flag in second position, 1.7 seconds adrift of Lloyd. By the time Taylor made it to second, Lloyd enjoyed a seven second advantage, which was then nullified by a late safety car period following contact between Jessica Bäckman and Stewart Lines at Camp Corner.

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The pair were battling for fifth and sixth position when they tangled at the last turn and made heavy contact with the barrier, necessitating the safety car. Lines was later disqualified from the race and received four penalty points for the incident.

When the field returned to green flag racing, Lloyd got the jump on Taylor while Swift held station in third position. The CUPRA racer finished the race third but initially received a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, dropping him down to fifth. After the race, Swift successfully appealed the decision and the penalty was withdrawn, which reinstated his first TCR UK podium result.

Derek Palmer secured his best result so far this season with fourth in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while his teammate Robert Gilmour did not start either race this weekend due to an ongoing ECU problem.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

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So, lets recap. There were twelve entries for the weekend and this dropped to eleven when Howard Fuller confirmed that due to budget reasons he wasn’t able to take part. To further add to this Darelle Wilson suffered terminal damage to his Vauxhall Astra after a big off in Qualifying and Robert Gilmour had an ECU issue that kept him out of the running.

Despite this, nine cars took part in both races and both races were really exciting with a lot of chasing and strategy required in trying to make passes on the fast Wiltshire circuit. With this event being one the fans were really talking about, the response back was really positive about the racing and the access to the drivers and teams.

However what the circuit also posed was a challenge with potentially two places to pass with a lot of high speed panning required. That’s not a bad thing as with most UK circuits, its bloody difficult to pass anyway!

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Again the subject of numbers came up, however you can’t account for the possibility of Budget issues or Mechanical/Damage Issues during a weekend. These things happen over any race weekend in any series, however it seems to be highlighted more with this series than anyone else. To add to this, other expected entries didn’t appear due to Budgets or trying to secure a car to race with. Its not that easy to do!

Oulton Park is next on Saturday 4th August and the action all takes place on the Saturday with Qualifying live online and both races also streamed live as normal. Oulton is always a challenge and its one I’m looking forward to.

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As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

BTC Norlin Racing: A Modern Day BTCC Fairy tale brought to life…

It not every day that a team can come into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and have such a popular following in a very short space of time.

However, Bert Taylor’s BTC Norlin Racing squad have managed to do this and score some impressive results since the teams return last year. Here is how I have seen the modern version of a fairy tale re-entry into the BTCC for the team…

The History Lesson…

BTC Racing was no stranger to the series, having competed during two stints (2006-2008 & 2014), having seen limited success using the different cars of the Lexus IS and the SEAT Toledo and then running the NGTC Hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze, the team took some time out from the championship.

Stockton
Credit: BTCC.net

During the off season in 2016, Taylor made the announcement that his squad had secured two TBL’s and would be re-entering the BTCC with the NGTC Chevrolet Cruze’s run by Power Maxed racing previously.

Later on during the build up to the 2017 season, Chris Smiley and Dave Newsham were confirmed as the drivers for the teams comeback.

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Credit: BTCC.net

With Smiley having suffered a poor season in 2016 racing for the Team HARD outfit, scoring a best position of 16th at Thruxton in what was uncompetitive car, the Northern Irish driver left after Croft that year and was soon snapped up by Taylor.

Retaining Newsham in the team was also a master stroke with the BTCC race winner having a lot of experience in the Chevrolet Cruze during his time at Power Maxed Racing. The scene was set for what looked to be a better first season returning back in the BTCC.

Bert Taylor sums up the emotions he felt about returning to the series:

“It was a dream come true, our lottery ticket had landed and it was a fantastic feeling to be back in the BTCC again!”

The 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship: Newsham to the Front

BTCNorlin2017MediaDay
Credit: BTCC.net

The season started quietly for the team as they bedded in the “Stealth Bomber” looking Chevy’s and began to learn about the cars, however Newsham gave an early showing of the cars promise in round six at Donington Park.

During extremely wet conditions, Newsham guided the Cruze into the lead and stayed there for several laps before giving best to cars on a better setup around him.

However, the Scotsman would come home in fourth place and take the team’s first top five finish of the year. Knockhill added more silverware as Newsham was the winning Independent driver in the days second race where he finished in seventh place overall.

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Credit: BTCC.net

Rockingham was a good weekend for Chris Smiley, who having gotten to grips with the car during the season and taking a lot of guidance from Newsham, secured his first two top ten finishes of the season with tenth place in race two and then ninth place in race three.

Silverstone where the team made its mark and really showed the promise that was waiting in the wings. With the National circuit offering its normal fast spectacle of racing and difficult overtaking chances, Newsham guided the Chevy to take the team’s first overall podium of the year in third place in race three.

Smiley-18 (1)
Credit: BTCC.net

With the team having signed off their first year back with silverware, the off season for the buildup to 2018 would be crucial to maintaining their momentum.

With a lot of Silverware from the teams first season back, Bert Taylor explained how he felt about the teams achievements during the 2017 season:

“The season was a game of two half’s. The first half was Tried hard, second half was just what we needed.”

“Donington in the wet was where Dave almost put us on the podium and in the 2nd half of the season both drivers got us into the top ten on a regular basis and Dave got 3rd overall at Silverstone!”

The 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship: The Young Guns Fly!

Chris Smiley, BTC Norlin Honda Civic
Credit: BTCC.net

Over the offseason, BTC Norlin confirmed that they had purchased the two ex-Team Dynamics/Works Honda Civics for the new season and that they had kept Smiley on board for a second consecutive year.

Adding to the line-up was experienced BTCC and TCR International Series driver James Nash, making his return to the BTCC after seven years away. With the competitiveness of the Honda’s already well known and two talented drivers signed up, 2018 was looking good already.

Once again Brands Hatch was a learning curve for the team, however Donington Park once again delivered. Josh Cook took pole position in differing conditions, but Smiley was there on the front row only three hundredths of a second behind. The scene was set. Could the team take its second podium in the BTCC or could Chris take that elusive win?

The answer was a second podium, however the achievement was immense. Chris delivered a great result for the team and gave notice that once again the “Stealth Bomber” Honda’s were ready to challenge at the front with the rest of the big-name teams and drivers. The elation for both Smiley, the Team and Taylor was evident on TV.

Chris Smiley, BTC Norlin Honda Civic
Credit: BTCC.net

With a podium taken with a brand new car for the team, Taylor explained the emotions of seeing Smiley take his first podium in the series:

“Its a feeling I’ll never forget for both of us I’ve always known Chris had the capability!”

“He delivered that day from 7th place in the second race and it was fantastic feeling after a front row start on the hard tyres in race one.”

Thruxton was a good weekend for the team again as the Hampshire circuit saw Smiley take three top ten finishes, however it would be all change for Oulton Park. With Nash deciding to leave the series, Taylor scored a popular signing in getting the current TCR UK Championship leader Dan Lloyd in the second seat.

With Lloyd carrying late entry ballast in Oulton Park, it was always going to be a difficult debut for the Huddersfield driver. 22nd on the grid for race one, Lloyd made his way up to 18th at the end of race two. With both driver 17th and 18th for race three, a possible top ten was on the cards, however a start-line accident wrecked both cars there and then.

Croft Race Three: That’s the way to do it!

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Credit: BTCC.net

With so much potential being shown by the team since they returned to the series last year, there was a point when the question was asked:

“They have the cars, they have the talented drivers… Where’s the first win coming???”

One common theme during the first half of the 2018 season was that the BTC Norlin Honda’s were getting noticed by the ITV Pundits for their speed and reliability in races and once Lloyd joined the team, the talk moved to when that first win would happen and either Lloyd or Smiley would take it.

Smiley (1)
Credit: BTCC.net

With Dan Lloyd picked for pole position for race three at Croft, the dream suddenly seemed to become a reality. Lloyd made a great start off the line and was never headed after the first lap.

Whilst many fans have said about how much of a dominating force Lloyd had been in TCR UK (Where he has the best car and the best team at his disposal), it was great to see the Yorkshire driver lead from the front and control the race in a different series.

Lloyd duly took the win by just under five seconds and secured his first win in the BTCC as well as giving the team their first BTCC win. A proper double whammy and a great way to head into the Sumer Break.

Start2
Credit: BTCC.net

With that elusive first race win finally taken, Taylor explains his emotions of seeing Lloyd take his first BTCC win:

“Dan just fitted into the team, it really felt like he’d been with us for ages and what a result he delivered after siting in the car for 5 races! WOW!”

“The win in race three at Croft was absolutely incredible for the whole team after both cars suffered from so much damage from the start-line accident that took place in the final race of the day at Oulton Park.” 

The remaining second half of the season got underway at Snetterton in the last weekend of July with another fine opportunity of Pole Positions and race wins presented as the series celebrates its 60th Anniversary with the “Double Diamond” Race:

A ballast free, no holds barred, double points scoring race?

It sounds like another chance to add a new chapter to that Fairy tale…

(To bring this up to date, both drivers enjoyed a positive meeting with Smiley taking fifth place in race two as his highest finish of the weekend whilst Lloyd took two ninth place finishes in the first and third races repsectively.)

Chris Smiley (GBR) BTC Norlin Honda Civic

Despite this being a BTCC Post, I will be keeping things up to date with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography / BTCC.net

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR Europe Series: Hungary

Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the 2018 TCR Europe Series action that took place at the Hungaroring circuit, from Qualifying all the way though to Race One on Saturday and Race Two on Sunday…

The 2018 TCR Europe Series Entry List For Hungary:

The Parish Notes for Hungary…

The TCR Europe series resumed at Budapest’s Hungaroring for rounds 7 and 8 with PCR Sport’s Mikel Azcona as the current points leader. The young Spaniard looked to try and defend his 11-point margin ahead of Dušan Borković (Target Competition), while Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Lukoil Team WRT) has hopes to further reduce his gap of 39 points.

TCR Europe welcomed back Igor Stefanovski (Stefanovski Racing Team) who was forced to miss the previous race meeting at Spa for the consequences of his crash at Zandvoort, and return with the aim of showing their potential.

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The other two drivers supported by Autodis Racing, apart from Stefano Comini, swapped cars for the weekend in Hungary: Cedric Piro took over the Hyundai i30 N run by Piro Sport, while Loris Cencetti moved to the Honda Civic run by THX.

Two Hungarian teams also took part in the event alongside the regular M1RA with Nagy and Francisco Mora. Zengő Motorsport returned to the series with a Cupra TCR DSG for Ferenc Ficza whilst JLG Sport lodged an entry for former TCR International Series driver Mark Jedloczky also in a Cupra TCR.

Balance of Performance/Compensation Weight Update…

The combination of BoP and Compensation Weight listed the Audi RS3 LMS as the heaviest car (1315kg); the Cupra, Honda Civic and Hyundai cars are 50kg lighter, while the Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308 are a further 10 and 40kg lighter respectively.

Azcona pips Tassi and Files in Qualifying

After being the last driver to make the cut for Q2, Mikel Azcona secured his first pole position of the year with a last gasp lap on the drying track.

A perfect strategy from PCR Sport meant that the young Spaniard waited until the final moments in Q2, when the racing line were dryer, to mount two slick tyres at the front and set the fastest lap of 2:05.652. Thus, he pipped Tassi (2:06.105) and Files (2:06.393) who seemed to have locked the front row of the grid for Race 1.

Target Competition drivers Dušan Borković and Reece Barr qualified fourth and fifth respectively, with the Irishman making up from a disappointing day of Practice and claiming his best Qualifying result so far.

TCR Europe Budapest, Hungary 06 July 2018

Zengő Motorsport’s TCR returnee Ferenc Ficza put in a brilliant effort to place his Cupra DSG in sixth position, ahead of his fellow countryman Dániel Nagy who had been fastest in Q1.

Francisco Abreu qualified eighth despite having his fastest lap disallowed for a track limit infringement, while Julien Briché and Francisco Mora rounded off the top ten and secured the front row on the reverse grid for Race 2 where Mora will be on pole.

It was a disappointing session for Kris Richard, who was the first to miss the cut for Q2 by 48 thousandths of a second only whilst Jean-Karl Vernay and Stefano Comini who were also eliminated after Q1.

The Frenchman had a quick lap disallowed for a track limit infringement, was called back to the pits by his team and rejoined when it was too late, while Comini’s car suffered from a gearbox issue.

Borković wins a thrilling race from Paulsen and Nagy whilst Azcona retains the points lead

Dušan Borković returned to victory in a very entertaining Race 1 at the Hungaroring, after a thrilling fight on a track that was humid and treacherous after the morning rain.

The Serbian driver at Target Competition, who had won the two races of the season-opener at Paul Ricard, collected his third victory at the wheel of his Hyundai i30 N. He chased the leading trio of Josh Files, Mikel Azcona and Attila Tassi during the first three laps, then chose the right moment to attack while his competitors were fighting.

After a contact between Files – who stopped with a puncture – and Azcona – who lost a few places, the battle continued with Tassi defending second from a charging Julien Briché. A contact ensued, which eliminated them both: Tassi in the gravel, Briché with a drive-through.

TCR Europe Budapest, Hungary 06 July 2018

This promoted Stian Paulsen to second and Azcona to third; while the Norwegian was happily flying towards his first podium, Azcona did not settle for third and attempted an overtaking manoeuvre. He found himself involved in the duel between Stefano Comini and Reece Barr and was lucky to escape the collision and finish fourth behind Dániel Nagy.

Thus he retained the championship lead, only one point clear of Borković.

Kris Richard, Jens Reno Møller (his best result of the season so far), Jean-Karl Vernay (TCR Benelux winner), Stefano Comini (who recovered from 22nd on the grid), Danny Kroes and Márk Jedlóczky (who scored his first point) rounded off the top-ten.

Marie Baus-Coppens won the DSG Trophy in 15th position overall.

Mora takes maiden victory from Nagy as M1RA claims 1-2 finish on its home racetrack

On a warm afternoon, the Hungaroring produced another lively race, which was won by Francisco Mora, at the wheel of the M1RA Hyundai i30 N. This was the maiden win for the Portuguese driver and M1RA, with Dániel Nagy providing the icing on the cake by securing a 1-2 finish for the Hungarian team.

Mora made a perfect use of the pole position on the reversed grid, having to fight in the early stages with the Peugeot 308 cars of his fellow countryman Francisco Abreu and Julien Briché; then he managed to maintain a safe leading gap ahead of local hero Nagy in the closing lap.

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Josh Files emerged from the tough battle to take the third spot on the podium, ahead of his teammate Attila Tassi, while Abreu was classified fifth – his best result so far – as he was able to keep at bay Reece Barr and Kris Richard.

The remaining points positions were filled by Stefano Comini – who recovered again from 22nd on the grid – series returnee Ferenc Ficza and Stian Paulsen.

In a race that saw both Mikel Azcona and Dušan Borković – first and second in the standings – out of the points, Nagy has closed the gap and is now a closer third, 25 points behind Azcona and 24 from Borković.

Borković and Files get grid penalty for next race

Both Dušan Borković and Josh Files will be dropped by three positions on the starting grid for the first race of TCR Europe’s next event at Assen.

The Target Competition driver was penalised for bumping into the back of Josh Files’ car during today’s second race at the Hungaroring.

Files was given a similar penalty for pushing wide Julien Briché during the very same race and overtaking him.

The TCR Europe series will resume at Assen TT Circuit on August 18/19.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

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The TCR Europe Series weekend in Hungary brought up on of the most talked about topics in Turing Car racing in general: Contact and the acceptable levels of it.

Now the fans and drivers love both closing racing and an acceptable level of contact on track, but there were several times in Hungary that the level of contact was pushed a bit too far. I reference the contact in race one between Tassi and Briche which led to Tassi being effectively nurfed off into the gravel and caused a safety car period.

Whilst the field went around behind the Safety Car, there was a message on screen for Briche to serve a Drive Through Penalty…which the French driver subsequently ignored! This resulted in a 30 second penalty added to the race results however, if Briche had not carried on the contact on the rear of Tassi’s Honda…that would have been avoided!

This is one example of the many example of contact that took place within both races but it also highlighted that the Stewards weren’t afraid to punish the drivers. After all we want to see good close racing but we also want it to be fair and there’s been a few occasions this year where it hasn’t been the case.

The series moves on to the fast Assen circuit in mid August and its one that’s going to test the drivers and also start to weed out those who will be racing for the title and those who will be after race wins…

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As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who share their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of WSC / TCR Europe Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Brands Hatch

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Brands Hatch for its third weekend of racing and saw an increased entry list as well as some interested observers who just failed to make the entry in time…

The biggest news was that between Knockhill and Brands Hatch Laser Tools Racing decided to leaves the series, which left a question on the participation of the Alfa Romeo’s. This was soon answered with DPE Motorsport (who originally purchased the Alfa’s and announced their participation) confirming the cars would be a season long entry with Robert Gilmour brought in to race the second car.

There was also a provisional entry list that alluded to a potential 17 car entry, however due to a lack of funds/time/resources, these entries did not make it to the grid. One of the provisional entries was for BTCC runner up Sam Tordoff…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Brands Hatch:

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Daniel Lloyd secures pole position for the opening TCR UK Series race at Brands Hatch.

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Saturday---2018 UK Brands Hatch, 23 Daniel Lloyd_2

A quickest time of 48.483 seconds around the 1.2 mile Indy Circuit configuration on his final run meant the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR racer and championship leader headed up the front row alongside Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor, who enjoyed a strong start to life with the Honda Civic Type R FK7 in second, three tenths adrift.

Strong performances from Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman put the sister WestCoast Racing machines into third and fifth respectively, with Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR separating the pair as he chases a season-best result from fourth.

BMR Autoglym Academy’s Josh Price was another to improve in the second half of the session and will start the FK2 model from sixth, whilst the second Pyro-run FK7 of Finlay Crocker and championship newcomer Robert Gilmour (DPE Motorsport) share the fourth row behind in close company.

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Saturday---2018 UK Brands Hatch, 76 Robert Gilmour_2

Row five was an all-CUPRA and Maximum Motorsport affair, with Stewart Lines heading Carl Swift, both of whom have now made the switch to a sequential gearbox from a DSG unit, and the latter will start the second race from a reverse-grid pole position.

Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Howard Fuller marked his racing return to Brands Hatch with eleventh, half a second clear of Alex Morgan as the Renault Mégane TCR makes its competitive debut in the UK.

Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra lines up in thirteenth, a further tenth of a second behind, with Derek Palmer set to round out the field after a mechanical issue prevented his Alfa Romeo Giulietta from setting a fast lap.

Lloyd fights back to win fifth consecutive TCR UK race

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Race 1---2018 UK Brands Hatch R1, 32 Oliver Taylor_1

WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd claimed victory in the opening TCR UK championship race at Brands Hatch after recovering to edge out a fast-starting Ollie Taylor.

The Pyro Motorsport racer made the better start from the front row and edged ahead in the Honda Civic Type R FK7 on the outside line heading into Paddock Hill Bend. Drama ensued behind the pair as Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) moved up to third and then made light contact with Lloyd’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR at Druids, before sliding a little wide at Graham Hill Bend and allowing the top two to escape up the road.

Though Taylor held firm in his defence of the lead, Lloyd would not be denied and pounced on an opening at Clearways to reclaim top spot and then extended his advantage to 1.8 seconds before the end. The result increases his advantage in the championship to 80 points, whilst second for Taylor means he moves up to the same position in the standings.

Josh Price (BMR Autoglym Academy) looked to have held onto fourth after an absorbing race-long contest with Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing), but disaster struck on the run to the chequered flag and the Honda Civic FK2 slowed, allowing the TCR Scandinavia racer to seize a strong result on her debut at the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.

Another drama struck the CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) on the formation lap as an issue with the air jacks forced him to a halt, but swift work by his mechanics allowed him to make the start, and he recovered in composed fashion to post a season-best result of fifth. Jessica’s sibling Andreas survived a sideways moment after contact at Surtees to put all three WestCoast Racing machines in the top six, ahead of the Pyro Motorsport machine of Finlay Crocker.

Carl Swift claimed eighth and looked to capitalise on pole position in the reverse-grid race as he chases a maiden victory in the series, with Price eventually crossing the line ninth and Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) rounding out the top ten after edging out a thrilling scrap with Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra.

Alex Morgan was forced to retire the Renault Megane TCR on its competitive debut on domestic shores, but gathered valuable data on the car and will look for a better turn of luck in the second contest later today.

Daniel Lloyd and Jessica Bäckman give WestCoast a 1-2 finish

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WestCoast Racing secured a 1-2 finish in the final TCR UK Touring Car Championship contest at Brands Hatch, with championship leader Daniel Lloyd taking a sixth victory in a row to extend his lead in the standings.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR started on the fifth row of the grid but made a strong start and cut through the field in sublime fashion, eventually besting a stoic defence from the CUPRA of Carl Swift to seize the advantage into Graham Hill Bend. The result extends Lloyd’s advantage at the top of the table to 99 points.

Team-mate Jessica Bäckman followed Lloyd through to complete a strong result for the Swedish outfit – her first podium in the championship – with Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) emerging on top of a duel for the final spot on the rostrum with the sister Maximum Motorsport machine of Stewart Lines.

Swift drove valiantly but was unfortunate to pull off at Surtees in the closing stages with a suspected front-right suspension problem, whilst contact between Lines and Andreas Bäckman on the exit of Druids similarly prevented the latter from challenging for silverware.

Ollie Taylor saw out a strong weekend with fifth in the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic Type R FK7, though team-mate Finlay Crocker’s obvious pace went unrewarded and a spin at McLarens forced the Scottish racer into the pits and out of contention.

Darelle Wilson put in a season-best showing in the Vauxhall Astra, claiming sixth ahead of Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR, which started well but fell back and eventually took seventh via a trip to the pit lane for a tyre change.

In a race of high attrition Swift came next ahead of Backman, with Crocker, Josh Price’s Honda Civic FK2 after a suspected recurring fuel surge and the Renault Megane TCR of Alex Morgan rounding out the field after continued mechanical struggles.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Saturday---2018 UK Brands Hatch, cars_1

Brands Hatch offered some great racing from the TCR UK Series and it also confirmed that the interest from Knockhill wasn’t just a one off. Whilst Laser Tools Racing decided to return to the BTCC, the cars remained in the series with DPE Motorsport, putting to bed the many rumours that the series was in trouble without the cars or team being involved.

Dont. Be. So. Bloody. Ridiculous!!!

With the arrival of Alex Morgan and the Renault Megane being developed by Wolf Power Racing for their ADAC TCR Germany campaign (the car is in its first year of development) and also the signal of intent from both Sam Tordoff and BMR Team Principal Warren Scott about wanting to take part, this showed that there are others out there watching with interest.

14 cars is a great entry list and even with the two Alfa Romeo’s not competing due to engine issues, 12 cars on track is still a good sign. I maintain that unless the series reaches the lows of TCR Italy in its first year (2 full season entries, 7 part time entries that did not race at every TCR Italy event…) then there is still a lot of hope for TCR UK.

Lets give it a bloody chance eh?

Finally I felt for Carl Swift. The Maximum Motorsport driver led the most laps of the year so far before Lloyd found a way past. It was great to see Swift holding and defending his line and retirement for the CUPRA driver was a poor reward for a podium that was waiting for him. Looking forward to more positive performances!

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Race 1---2018 UK Brands Hatch R1, 32 Oliver Taylor_2

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Knockhill

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Knockhill in April for is second weekend of racing and enjoyed a larger entry on the grid.

Sean Walkinshaw stepped in to make his FWD debut in the Honda Civic whilst Howard Fuller was unable to drive due to other commitments whilst Josh Price made his first appearance in a 2017 Honda civic run by the BMR Autoglym Academy outfit.

Dan Lloyd secures pole position in competitive Knockhill qualifying

Round 2 TCR UK Series
Credit: Craig McAllister / CMC Images

Dan Lloyd made it two pole positions out of two events by securing the top time in qualifying for the TCR UK series at Knockhill, as local racer Aiden Moffat qualified on the front row of the grid in second.

Championship leader Lloyd made his intent clear early on in a sunny Qualifying session when he went to the top of the times after eight minutes.

But with Scottish racer Moffat getting ever-quicker, Lloyd had to improve his lap time throughout the session, eventually setting a time of 50.823 seconds to claim pole position for the first race.

Laser Tools Racing’s Moffat ended up two and a half tenths back having posted his best lap time of the weekend on the anti-clockwise configuration of the Knockhill circuit.

Round 2 TCR UK Series
Credit: Craig McAllister / CMC Images

The series once again featured a diversity of brands in the top three positions, as Lloyd’s Volkswagen and Moffat’s Alfa Romeo were followed by the Honda Civic of Ollie Taylor (Pyro Motorsport) in third, who improved his time twice inside the final ten minutes to secure a strong starting position.

Swedish racer Andreas Bäckman was fourth fastest, giving the WestCoast Racing driver a second row starting position for Race One.

TCR newcomer Josh Price (BMR Autoglym Academy) overcame an engine failure in practice to take to the circuit with seconds to spare at the beginning of the half-hour session, qualifying his Honda Civic in fifth, ahead of the 2018-specification Honda of Scottish racer Finlay Crocker (Verizon Connect Racing) in sixth.

Lewis Kent put his Hyundai i30 N in seventh for the first race, with the third WestCoast Racing Volkswagen of Jessica Bäckman in eighth.

Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) was ninth in his Vauxhall Astra, ahead of TCR UK debutante Sean Walkinshaw in tenth and Derek Palmer Jr (Laser Tools Racing) completing the field in 11th. Walkinshaw had earlier missed practice whilst he waited for a spare suspension component to be delivered to the circuit after a failure on Friday.

The grid for the second race, which is based on a reversal of the top ten drivers’ second fastest laps, saw Walkinshaw start from pole position with Wilson alongside.

Daniel Lloyd victorious in exciting opening race at Knockhill

Round 2 TCR UK Series

WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd put in a flawless drive to take victory in the opening TCR UK Series race at Knockhill, as Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor and the BMR Autoglym Acamdemy’s Josh Price completed the podium after a thrilling scrap.

Lloyd started the race from pole position and never looked back as he built up a comfortable margin early in the race, whilst the pack behind him scrapped for position in a thrilling race.

Taylor had got the jump on Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat at the start, before he slid wide in his Honda Civic on lap six and dropped to fourth, releasing Moffat to try to reduce Lloyd’s then six-second gap.

However, Moffat’s charge came to an abrupt end at the mid-point of the race when he suffered from a driveshaft failure, elevating WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman into second.

A mid-race safety car period was required in order to retrieve the beached Hyundai i30 N of Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) who had gone off at McIntyres whilst running in 11th, and when the race resumed on lap 22 Andreas Bäckman made an unforced error into the first turn, locking his brakes and handing second to Taylor.

Round 2 TCR UK Series

Bäckman sought to re-pass the Honda two laps later but contact between the pair gave Price the opportunity to move into second. The BMR driver would only hold the position for two laps though, and Taylor re-passed with just five laps to run and the podium positions would remain unchanged thereafter.

Fourth went to Bäckman, ahead of Sean Walkinshaw in fifth, who is making his TCR UK race début for his team of the same name this weekend.

Derek Palmer finished the race as Laser Tools Racing’s sole remaining Alfa Romeo in sixth after a relatively uneventful drive for the Scot, ahead of Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing) in seventh.

Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) was eighth, having received a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits in the race, although his race ended with an accident with Finlay Crocker (Verizon Connect Racing) at McIntyres bend on the final lap, despite the latter running a lap down. Crocker had earlier suffered from several spins during the race and was a lap down as a result.

Incident-packed Race 2 at Knockhill delivers thrills aplenty

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Daniel Lloyd continued his dream start to the TCR UK Series with victory in the reversed-grid second race at Knockhill, coming through from ninth on the grid to take his fourth win of the year ahead of Josh Price and Sean Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw started the race on pole position and led heading into Turn 1, but the Hyundai of Lewis Kent got an even stronger start from the second row of the grid and immediately made a move into Taylor’s Hairpin, with slight contact allowing Kent into the lead. Further back Team BMR’s Josh Price, who had started from sixth, got past Walkinshaw for second on lap four, and immediately set about slashing Kent’s early lead. On lap seven Kent made a mistake at Turn 1, gifting Price the lead, although the Honda driver would only be at the front of the field for four laps.

Championship leader Lloyd had been making steady progress in the early phase of the race, moving up to sixth by the end of the first lap and into second by lap eight. On lap 11 Lloyd got a superior exit from Turn 1 and passed Price for the lead heading towards Turns 2 and 3 with a clean pass.

Lloyd had opened up a lead of over two seconds by lap 23 when the safety car was required to clear up the damaged Honda of Ollie Taylor. The Pyro Motorsport driver had spent much of the first half of the race running seventh, before stepping up a gear heading into the final third of the race. Whilst trying to pass WestCoast Racing’s Jessica Bäckman for fourth at Turn 1 the two cars made contact and title contender Taylor was out of the race with broken steering.

Round 2 TCR UK Series
Credit: Craig McAllister / CMC Images

With the clock continuing to count down there was only time for one more racing lap when the action resumed, and Lloyd went early to build enough of a lead to take his fourth win of 2018. Price ultimately settled for second, ahead of Walkinshaw in third, giving the latter’s fledgling team a maiden podium in TCR. DW Racing’s Darelle Wilson was fourth, with the Vauxhall Astra racer almost securing a podium finish after pressuring Walkinshaw late in the race.

The Bäckman siblings finished in fifth and sixth, with Andreas ahead of sister Jessica respectively. Both WestCoast Racing cars were involved in fierce battles during the race, with their Volkswagen Golf GTi cars bearing the scars of multiple contacts at the end as the Knockhill circuit once again delivered close battles. Derek Palmer once again had to fly the flag for the Laser Tools Racing team and finished in seventh, as team-mate Aiden Moffat failed to make the start with a different failure to the driveshaft issue that took him out of the running in race one.

Lewis Kent completed the finishers in eighth, two laps down after tyre issues struck during the race.

Another two victories mean Lloyd leaves Scotland with a 66-point lead over Andreas Bäckman in second, with Taylor a further seven points behind in third.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

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The second weekend of the 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship showed that the exciting spectacle of TCR Racing takes place in every TCR Series around the world. Add some greasy conditions on a drying track and your guaranteed of exciting races.

I’m not going to talk about the Qualifying/Race Day issue, as far as I’m concerned it was sorted out on the day. Its not the best way to have done things with the decisions taking place live on air, but time constraints led to this happening in the way it did.

It was great to see Josh Price enter with BMR Autoglym Academy Honda Civic and it showed that others are interested in join the series in its first year. In a season where so far a lot of people have commented on the grid size (due to oversized expectation built by everyone outside of the series), a new car and team entering the fray shows that what I have said all along is correct:

People are waiting in the wings to see how it progresses before committing to an entry. Thats fair enough, its a new series and to make it worth their while the teams’/drivers want to see some action and racing to justify budgets.

Finally, racing in the reverse direction seemed to offer more overtaking spots than the normal way around. I liked it! I hope it returns for 2019…

2018-2018 Knockhill Race 2---2018 UK Knockhill R2, 55 Sean Walkinshaw

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Series & CMC images where credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

2018 TCR UK Series: Silverstone

With the season now three weekends old and nearing the halfway point, TCR Talk has decided to review the first six round of the year…

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship got underway over the Easter weekend with a three day weekend planned for the opening event at Silverstone. TCR Talk reviews the first two races of the season.

Good Friday was a test day for the thirteen competitors as they took the chance to get more seat time with the TCR Machinery as well as learning about the cars during the changing conditions.

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Silverstone:

Silverstone TCR UK Entry List

Three drivers top the timesheets during Media Day test at Silverstone.

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Inclement conditions prevented the field from finding the true limit of all six marques set to compete in the series opener, but Finlay Crocker cemented the potential of his new-for-2018 Honda Civic Type R FK7 by topping the timesheets in a damp opening session, setting a best time of 1:03.314, a mere seven thousandths of a second clear of the Laser Tools Racing duo of Aiden Moffat and Derek Palmer Jnr.

Moffat, who confirmed his deal to run in the eye-catching Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR in the week preceding the event, set the pace in a drier middle session on a 59.187, edging out Ollie Taylor’s Honda Civic TCR and guest entry Andreas Bäckman’s Volkswagen Golf GTi (WestCoast Racing).

2018-Silverstone media test day---MofffatSession1-04

Taylor (Pyro Motorsport) continued his form from the championships first official test day at the same venue earlier in March, setting a best time of 1:04.808 in the final session amid the inclement conditions at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’.

The combined 105 minutes of track time also provided a valuable opportunity for the sister WestCoast Racing VWs of Dan Lloyd and Bäckman’s sibling Jessica to clock up testing mileage, as was the case for Howard Fuller (SWR), Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) and the DSG Trophy pairing of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) and Carl Swift (Endurance Financial Racing).

Both Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) and guest entry Olli Kangas (LMS Racing) will joined the fray on Saturday behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra and CUPRA TCR respectively.

 

2018-Silverstone media test day---TaylorSession1-04

Daniel Lloyd claims inaugural TCR UK Series pole position at Silverstone,

Posting a late effort of 1:00.845 to end a dramatic session atop the timesheets, Lloyd secured his first Pole Position of the year, but it would be a close session as well.

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The new-for-2018 championship was cemented with six brands represented in the top seven grid slots, split by less than a second and a half on the track. A drying line began to emerge in the final minutes of the session, with a flurry of late times turning the starting order on its head.

Aiden Moffat completed the front row after the Laser Tools Racing driver narrowly missed out by two tenths of a second behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR, with Howard Fuller’s SWR-run Honda Civic TCR similarly denied by Lloyd’s last-gasp achievement.

With less than thirty seconds on the clock, it was Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N that looked to have navigated the tricky conditions on-circuit and secured top spot, but the 18-year old was forced to settle for fourth, just under half a second from pole.

2018-Silverstone media test day---KentSession1-03

Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor headed up the third row ahead of Carl Swift, who also secured the DSG Trophy bragging rights in the CUPRA TCR courtesy of a sixth-place start.

In only his third outing in the Vauxhall Astra, Darrelle Wilson (DW Racing) was classified seventh in front of guest entries Andreas Bӓckman (WestCoast Racing) and Olli Kangas (LMS Racing). Andreas’ sibling Jessica rounds out the top ten starters in the third Volkswagen Golf GTi, with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 and the final CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) completing the field.

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Lines started the second race of the weekend from pole position courtesy of a reversed top ten on the grid, which was initially formed from drivers’ second quickest lap times in qualifying.

Recurring mechanical problems on the second Laser Tools Racing machine of Derek Palmer Jnr prevented the Alfa Romeo driver from setting a lap time, but the team are expected to field both cars as normal in the season-opening double header tomorrow.

 

 

 

Lloyd converts pole position into his first TCR UK race victory at Silverstone

Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat and the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic TCR of Ollie Taylor completing the first podium of the season alongside the WestCoast Racing driver.

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The highly-competitive nature of the category had already been made apparent during Qualifying with six brands represented in the top seven positions, and the first race of the 2018 season cemented that trend.

Lloyd made the perfect start from pole position and eased ahead of Moffat’s Alfa Romeo Guilietta on the run down to Copse, whilst further back a slow start for the SWR-run Honda Civic TCR of Howard Fuller enabled Taylor and the Hyundai i30 N of Lewis Kent to get the jump into third and fourth on the road respectively.

Though Moffat put pressure on Lloyd throughout, the experienced TCR driver was able to hold on ahead of the Laser Tools Racing racer to earn himself a trip to the top step of the podium.

2018-2018 Silverstone Free Practice and Qualifying---FullerQuali-04

Moffat was initially given a five-second penalty for infringing track limits by the stewards, but this was rescinded after evaluation post-race and the Laser Tools Racing driver was handed back the runner-up spot.

Fuller would then entertain the crowd with a closely-fought battle for fifth with Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7, the two making contact under braking on several occasions before the former eventually came out on top.

Andreas Bӓckman’s pace was evident as he scythed his way through the field from eighth on the grid, before matching the lap times of the race leaders once up into fourth.

2018-2018 Silverstone---19 Andreas Backman_03

Sibling Jessica was equally competitive, sustaining a thrilling contest for seventh with LMS Racing’s Olli Kangas for the near-duration of the race, but ultimately had to settle for eighth.

Stewart Lines capitalised on an early spin at Brooklands for Carl Swift to claim the bragging rights in the DSG Trophy stakes, and will start the second race from pole position courtesy of the top ten having their second-fastest qualifying times reversed.

Kent and Darelle Wilson (Vauxhall Astra) made contact under braking at Beckett’s whilst disputing position, sending the latter into the gravel and out of the race. Kent would continue and eventually round out the field in eleventh.

Derek Palmer was hit once again with a mechanical fault on the second Alfa Romeo Giulietta and retired at half distance, but will look to bounce back in the series’ second contest, scheduled for 16:05 this afternoon.

Lloyd cements his advantage atop the TCR UK standings after reverse-grid victory.

Team mate Andreas Bӓckman had initially lost out to the Laser Tools Racing-run Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Aiden Moffat on the outside of Becketts with around a third of the race gone, but a late mechanical problem saw the latter pull off in the dying embers of the race.

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 2 mid fielders

Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor completed the podium for the second successive race after following the pairing of Lloyd and Moffat through the field, with Howard Fuller rounding out his first competitive action in three seasons with a solid fourth place finish in the SWR Honda Civic TCR.

Front-row starter Olli Kangas completed his preparations for the start of the TCR Scandinavia series with fifth on the road, with another competitive showing from Jessica Bӓckman behind earning her sixth place.

Darelle Wilson re-asserted himself after an incident in Race one, putting in a fine move on Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N into Becketts en route to seventh.

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 2 Stewart Lines_1

Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) doubled up in the DSG Trophy stakes in eighth, using his reverse-grid pole position to stay clear of Carl Swift’s fellow CUPRA TCR, though the pairing were split on the road by Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7. A turbo issue plagued Lewis Kent’s season-opener and he again struggled, rounding out the field in eleventh.

Derek Palmer Jnr suffered from another frustrating mechanical malady in the second Alfa Romeo, pitting to retire in the closing stages after demonstrating good pace to keep up with the leaders despite being a lap down.

Lloyd will carry a 25-point lead into the second meeting of the season on the reverse layout at Knockhill [12-13 May], with the Volkswagen Golf GTI racer keen to extend his one-off appearance at Silverstone into a full-season assault on the UK’s first TCR title.

 

 

 

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 1 Finlay Crocker_1

The Guru’s Thoughts…

The first weekend of the 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship got off to a good start with 13 entries and some good racing on the Silverstone National Circuit, despite the challenging Easter weather conditions.

The circuit crowds were treated to two good races with action in each one, however one criticism about those races was the fact that they are 30 mins long. This is something that will crop up again each weekend.

However the longer races introduce the tyre wear strategy into the mix as well. Otherwise the series had a good opening weekend and also a good support act as well. Lessons have been learned and will be put in place for next year.

One other downside was the changing of the Test Day date however this was delayed due to Drivers and Teams wanting to get final deals and liveries in place. Understandable from their point of view, but a frustration for the fans who were hopeful of a similar BTCC- like experience of a Media Day.

For me, the best part is where the public are given access to the race one grid before the races gets underway. That’s a good move and will continue as part of the TCR / TCR UK tradition.

2018-2018 Silverstone races---Race 2 Andreas Backman_8

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Championship

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!