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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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!