FULBROOK TO TAKE THE FIGHT TO CHAPLIN
Double champion Joe Fulbrook says he’s not given up yet on hopes of reclaiming his Volkswagen Racing Cup crown, despite the recent run of form in the FUCHS Lubricants-backed series which has seen reigning champion Steve Chaplin take the initiative.
Fulbrook hopes that new suspension modifications to his Warranty Direct Racing Bora Turbo will give him an edge when the championship resumes at Rockingham at the weekend, but the Berkshire-based 2008 and ’09 title winner does not underestimate the size of his task.
“Steve is driving really well,” says Fulbrook, “and clearly has hit something of a sweet spot with his Beetle. We can’t hope to match his pace in a straight line but we are still working on the Bora, improving it all the time, and I’m hoping that we can be nearer him at Rockingham. We’re giving it 100 per cent.”
It’s been quite a few weeks since the Volkswagen Racing Cup was last in action, at Zandvoort, where Chaplin scored twin wins to bring his tally for the season to three. Chaplin goes to Rockingham – a circuit which suits his ‘Herbie’ Beetle to a tee – with a 70-point series lead.
It’s an impressive tally for Chaplin, who won both Rockingham rounds in 2009 and one race there last year, but one which his title rivals will not see as insurmountable. Leading them into battle are Golf GTI men Aaron Mason and James Walker. Mason’s AWM Motor Sport-prepared car has won twice already this season, at Snetterton and Brands Hatch, while Walker, who races with the KPM team, took the honours in one of the Oulton Park rounds in April. Fulbrook’s sole win so far came in round one at Oulton.
The season’s other race winner is Kieran Griffin, who took his maiden race victory at Brands Hatch in the Addison Lee Scirocco, while the additional podium visitors have been Golf racers Steve Wood, Peter Lettinga, Tim Snaylam and Zoe Wenham.
Seventeen-year-old Wenham is not only the youngster on the grid but also the only female; a first win cannot be far away for the SlideSports driver. She, like KPM pilot Lettinga and AWM man Snaylam, claimed her best-yet finish last time out.
Others to watch out for include the all-new Mk VI Golf GTI with Nick Beaumont at the wheel; Golf-driving championship newcomers Thomas Wilson and Mark Howard, and the championship’s two disabled drivers, Simon Andrews and Phil Morris, who have both made major progress this season and will be aiming for the top 10. The crowd-pleasing Caddy Racer and its irrepressible pilot Simon Elliott will be in action also.
The series welcomes a new team at the weekend in the shape of Lunar Racing, the Rockingham-based squad whose Mk IV Golf GTI has been built with the help of local schoolkids pursuing GCSE-level mechanical engineering qualifications.
In addition to Chaplin’s, there will be two further Beetles on track at Rockingham as Andrew Smith and Steve Dorrell return to the championship. Paul Wyhinny will meanwhile deputise for his father, Peter, at the wheel of the promotional class SEAT Leon Cupra.
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