SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS AWAITS THE VOLKSWAGEN RACERS
Aaron Mason travels to Belgium full of hope. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com
A field of 27 racing Volkswagens will make the cross-channel hop this week (11/12 July) to contest the Spa-Francorchamps rounds of the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup. It’s the third successive year that the series has made a pilgrimage to the home of the Belgian Grand Prix, and the fixture retains its popularity with championship contenders.
Having regained lost ground at Snetterton last month to return to the top of the points table, reigning champion Aaron Mason leads the hopefuls to Belgium with the hope of adding a Spa win to his impressive CV – his best result there so far is a third-place finish in 2013.
Mason heads the title race by 10 points from his Golf GTI-driving team-mate from the AWM/Warranty Direct squad, former double champion Joe Fulbrook, with emerging talent Stefan Di Resta hot on their heels. Di Resta, brother of DTM driver Paul, is emerging as the rookie of the year in his JWB Motorsport Scirocco; he claimed his first racing victory in a car at Snetterton.
There are many other potential winners in the field, like AWM’s Josh Caygill, and another of the season’s rookies, Lucas Orrock, whose KPM Scirocco has finished on the podium three times in the last four races.
The other race winner this year is former single-seater driver James Greenway, who led the championship but fell back to sixth overall after a weekend of poor mechanical luck at Snetterton. Others to watch out for include SlideSports Scirocco team-mates David Sutton and David Fairbrother, KPM team-mates Sam Morgan and George White, and Milltek Sport-backed Golf driver James Walker, who claimed a brace of podium finishes at Spa in 2012.
Stewart Lines is hoping that some of the luck which helped him to his maiden VW Cup race win at Spa last year will return to improve his lot: although the Maximum Motorsport boss has shown pace at every meeting this season he has yet to claim a podium finish. Twelve months ago Stewart, then racing with the KPM team, claimed pole at Spa by a two-second margin and bagged a win and a second in the races.
“I’m just hoping for a bit of luck,” said Lines. “It seems like every time I get in the car at the moment something breaks or I hit something – I’m just going through a bit of a phase. We’ve been in the top six every time before hitting problems. Hopefully that will change next weekend: I’ve always had decent results at Spa, especially last year, and it’s been a good circuit for me, so fingers crossed my season will get going properly. It’s not going to be easy – it never is – because there are a lot of quick new drivers, although they perhaps don’t have the Spa experience that I do. My team-mate, Chris Panayiotou, has never been there, for example, so he’s looking to me for some help in learning the circuit.”
Philip Morris, one of the championship’s three disabled drivers, will make his seasonal debut at Spa, at the wheel of a newly minted KPM Racing Golf GTI, alongside old Spa hand Simon Andrews (AWM/Warranty Direct Golf) and Spa first-timer James Pile (SlideSports Golf).
Also on the entry list for the Belgian rounds are Tony Gilham, who raced to victory there in a Team HARD Golf in 2012, and technician-turned-driver Darelle Wilson, who join Team HARD regulars and championship top-20 men Tom Barley, Howard Fuller, Kieran Gallagher and Simon Rudd.
For more information visit www.vw-cup.co.uk