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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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…
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…
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!