ALL IN A DAY’S RACING AT OULTON PARK WITH TCR UK
The TCR UK season continued with a visit to Oulton Park on 4th August when a significant name on the entry list for the only single-day meeting of the season was Ash Sutton. The reigning BTCC Champion made a one-off appearance behind the wheel of the Honda Civic usually driven by Finlay Crocker who was unable to race in Cheshire due to business commitments.
Sutton was mightily impressive. His fastest time in qualifying was more than half a second faster than series points leader Dan Lloyd’s VW Golf and then he went on to comfortably win both races. The opener was a 15 minute dash instead of the usual 30 after the red flags appeared shortly after the start when Carl Swift (Seat Leon) and Richard Gilmour (Alfa Romeo Giullietta) crashed heavily at Island Bend sustaining heavy damage to their cars and the barriers but, fortunately, not to themselves.
After a lengthy delay, the Alfa of Derek Palmer held second with Lloyd and Ollie Taylor (Honda Civic) battling away in his mirrors. In theory, Lloyd didn’t need to take too many chances as both Palmer and Taylor had 10 second penalties for starting out of position on the grid. Although the decision against Palmer was later rescinded he still had 5 seconds added to his race time for track limit infringements which dropped him to fourth behind Lloyd and Andreas Backman (Golf).
With the organisers still working to get the timetable back on schedule following the earlier Armco repairs, race 2 was also reduced albeit only by 5 minutes. Lewis Kent held second place right up until the final corner when he understeered wide and allowed Ollie Taylor to push the Hyundai i30 driver down to third.
There was a packed programme of support categories and none provided more entertainment than the trio of BRSCC Mazda MX5 SuperCup rounds. Luke Herbert held off Jack Harding to take the first encounter, then Harding managed to reverse the result in the second thanks to a pass at Island Bend. To mix things up, the first 6 were reversed on the final grid of the day and it was Aidan Hill’s turn to put his defensive skills to good use as he held off Harding and Hills – plus the 6 other drivers in a 9 car train! – to take his debut SuperCup victory.
As has been commonplace this season, Niall Murray took the honours in the first of two Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 contest in his Van Diemen RF99. Luke Cooper initially ran second with the Swift SC16 but was demoted by Michael Eastwell (Spectrum 011C) and Matt Round-Garrido (Medina JL17).
A slow start at the second time of asking gave Murray plenty of work to do during the course of the fifteen minutes but by the start of the last lap he was challenging his team mate Round-Garrido for the lead on the exit of Old Hall. Round-Garrido moved to the inside of the track to defend his position by baulking Murray’s momentum but this compromised both drivers allowing Joey Foster to steam by the pair of them! Murray fought back and crossed the line 0.032 seconds behind the green Ray GR08 – this after Round-Garrido had run wide at the last corner allowing Eastwell into third.
A poor start by Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup’s pace-setter in qualifying, Simon Walton (Audi TT), allowed Tom Walker to take the lead in his Scirocco followed by the similar car of Martin Depper. The TT of Owen Walton upheld family honour as his father ran in the midfield by passing Depper at the start of lap 3. Depper was clinging on to third from Tom Witts’ Polo when the pair made contact at Lodge and Depper speared into the barriers causing the Safety Car to be scrambled. Then, with the Golf of Josh Coggan hitting the tyre-wall at Old Hall, the red flags came out.
Matthew Wilson was the first to reach Old Hall in his Scirocco when the Volkswagen Racing Cup returned to the tarmac. He was initially harassed by Tom Witts until the latter made contact with Mark Wakefield at Knickerbrook. Both continued and Witts was in position to grab a runner-up finish when Ruaridh Clark’s (Scirocco) tagged Paul Taylor’s Golf into a half spin at Cascades. Clark was penalised as Taylor was classified third.
Entering Hislops on lap 1 of the first Nankang Tyres BMW Compact Cup race, Ian Jones overtook Steven Dailly and was never headed in this and the following contest later in the day. Dailly twice followed him home while a last lap pass by Owen Hunter at Cascades prevented David May from repeating his earlier third place result.
With a tight timetable, the BRSCC would like to congratulate the marshals and officials who brought the meeting back on schedule following the 40 minute delay caused by the major crash at Island Bend in the initial TCR encounter.
You can view the full results at OULTON PARK RESULTS