SILVERSTONE FIRST FOR VW CUP


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Sam Edwards will be determined to close the gap on leader Steve Chaplin. Photo: www.imagevaults.co.uk

The Volkswagen Racing Cup with Fuchs Lubricants will chalk up another first this coming Sunday (15th August) when the field descends on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit for the first time in the championship’s 10-year history at the BRSCC run F3/GT meeting.

Around 30 cars are expected at the home of British motorsport for the Volkswagen double-header, which marks the start of the second half of the championship season.

It’s been an incredibly close and competitive year, and so far no driver has scored more than a single race win. Steve Chaplin and his ‘Herbie’-liveried Beetle lead the combatants to Silverstone: last year’s championship runner-up nailed his first win of 2010 at Rockingham last month, but Chaplin’s advantage over his nearest title rival, Golf GTI driver Sam Edwards, is only 48 points thanks to a crash in the second Rockingham race.

“Certainly we are hopeful of a better result than at Rockingham,” says Chaplin. “The win was great but I’d rather have had two finishes. The Beetle has needed quite a bit of repair work but is ready to go, and I’m very excited at the prospect of getting out on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. The aim is to go as well as we can; I’m not thinking about the championship at all.”

The other Rockingham victor was championship debutant Howard Fuller, the 17-year-old Surrey racer who proved that he’s as accomplished at the wheel of a saloon car as he is in his usual single-seater mount, a Formula Palmer Audi. Howard is back in his RacingLine Golf at Silverstone to give his elders something more to think about.

One driver certainly hoping to rediscover winning ways at Silverstone is Didge Dziurzynski, who won the opening round at Oulton Park at Easter and then finished second to Peter Felix in round two. Since then the Dorset-based driver has suffered all sorts of problems and has slipped out of the top 10.

Felix’s Oulton victory was his first in the Volkswagen Racing Cup, as was Aaron Mason’s at Zandvoort, and they – Golf GTI drivers both – will be out to add to their tally at Silverstone. Behind them there is a large queue forming of potential race winners, not least among them Golf GTI pilots Sam Edwards, Tim Snaylam and brothers James and Daniel Walker, and Scirocco drivers Kieran Griffin and Mike Kurton.

The 2006 champion, Paul Taylor, is not only the fastest-starting driver in the field, thanks to his four-wheel-drive Golf R32, but is steadily amassing points through consistent finishing. Paul is now up to fourth in the championship and next weekend will have dad Tony on the grid to help his cause.

Sixteen-year-old Zoe Wenham is the youngest competitor and the only female on the grid: she made a promising championship debut at Zandvoort in the KPM Racing Polo and scored her first points at Rockingham.

Martyn Walsh made a great start to his racing career last month, placing 10th and sixth in respective races, and the computer company boss is back with the AWM team next weekend to see if he can’t repeat the feat.

Silverstone instructor and Northampton resident Doug Ross will be campaigning his faithful Polo GTI, and also helping to raise funds and awareness for six-year-old Adam Bird, a cancer sufferer who needs vital and expensive treatment in the USA. “He’s a very sick little boy,” says Doug. “All our championship cars will be carrying stickers and we will have a set-up at our awning in the paddock with information and collection tins.”

Others expected in action at Silverstone include SEAT boss Peter Wyhinny in his Leon; Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Director Simon Elliott in the RAC-liveried Caddy van racer; Team Fuchs pilot Phil Morris in his Golf GTI; and Simon Andrews in his distinctive ‘polizei’-liveried Golf.