ANDREAS BACKMAN WINS RACE 1 AT CROFT IN TCR UK
WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman took his first victory in the opening race for the TCR UK series at Croft, taking a lights-to-flag win in the Honda Civic ahead of duelling title rivals Ollie Taylor and Dan Lloyd.
Bäckman made a clean start from pole position and immediately pulled into a lead at the front, as Pyro Motorsport’s Taylor slotted into second and was unable to keep pace with Bäckman in the early laps. Championship leader Lloyd, meanwhile, made a superb start from last on the grid and hauled his Volkswagen into fifth by the time he got to the first corner, before getting past Finlay Crocker’s Verizon Connect Racing Honda further around the opening lap. That put Lloyd in fourth and challenging for a podium position behind the CUPRA of Maximum Motorsport’s Stewart Lines. Lines did his best to hang on to a podium position, but on lap five Lloyd made a move at Tower bend and contact was made between the pair, allowing Lloyd to take third and sending Lines into the field on the exit of the corner.
With Lloyd released, he closed down the near-three second gap to Taylor ahead and by lap ten was on the rear bumper of the Honda. Lloyd kept the pressure on Taylor throughout the final five laps, even drawing alongside on the start straight on lap 11, but Taylor was able to hold on to the position and keep his fading title aspirations alive.
Crocker took the chequered flag in fourth to record his best result of the season, ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Jessica Bäckman in fifth. Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) and Lines completed the classified finishers in sixth and seventh respectively, one lap down, with both having made visits to the pitlane. DW Racing’s Darelle Wilson retired from the race after just two laps following contact with Kent early on.
Andreas Bäckman (1st) said: “It was definitely not easy – I pushed with everything I had all the time, and especially in the beginning and then at the end when I saw that Dan was catching Ollie I was worried. I tried to just do my own thing and keep the tyres alive until the end. It was definitely an advantage to be at the front and have no-one ahead, which was very good for me.
“I am so happy; it’s definitely something special. I have been very close a couple of times this year and I definitely had the speed, but I had not done a complete race, so I’m really pleased with this.”
Ollie Taylor (2nd) said: “I wanted to keep Dan behind at all costs. It’s a great result for Andreas – he had the pace. I was trying to find a good balance between pace and tyres. I literally had no tyres left at the end when Dan mounted an attack, so an attack on Andreas was out of the question.
“I just thought that I’d take second place and keep it. I was trying to not kill the tyres in too much of a frantic state, but obviously Dan is quick around here and he’s shown that he’s quick here, so I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge. I managed to hold him off – it came a bit close at the end a couple of times at the chicane, but I just had nothing left on the front end, trying to get the car stopped and turned and get it fired out again. It was a good race and it was good fun.
“It was a points race. We just need to focus on getting as many points from each race as we can. We’re in a good position on pole for the next race so we just need to get our heads down, get ahead and hopefully Dan doesn’t fight his way through the pack quite as quickly.”
Dan Lloyd (3rd) said: “I had a really good start off the line and I had some good pace when I got going. It took me ages to get past Stewart – he was all over the place, but I got past him in the end and closed the gap to Ollie quite quickly. But by the time I got to him I had nothing left in my front tyres, so even though I was quicker it’s hard to make a move and get past.
“It’s still good points and I went from last onto the podium. I’m massively happy for my team-mate Andreas who did a mega job.
“This weekend was just about getting the points and keeping going. We knew we had a grid penalty to serve here as well, so it was always going to be tough. It’s points in the bag which go towards the championship, which is the main thing we need to get, so it’s a good result.”