TAYLOR AND SWIFT CLAIM FIRST BLOOD IN TCR UK OULTON PARK OPENER
Here is the lowdown on the opening rounds of the 2019 TCR UK Championship from Oulton Park this past Saturday.
Carl Swift, driving the Endurance Financial CUPRA, won the opening race of the 2019 TCR UK
championship at Oulton Park. With only two laps remaining, an incident involving the leading pair
of cars resulted in both cars hitting the barrier, which meant the race was red-flagged.
A poor start from pole-sitter Henry Neal (Touring Car Trophy) saw the two TCR CUPRA cars of Ollie
Taylor (Maximum Motorsport) and Carl Swift pass the Honda. The pair then ran first and second,
with Taylor steadily opening up a lead of over a second by Lap 4, with the recovering Neal
attacking Swift for second place.
Neal briefly took second place going across the start/finish line at the start of Lap 5, but Swift then
retook the position in the run down to Old Hall corner. Neal then attacked again going into
Knickerbrook and succeeded in taking second from Swift before setting off in pursuit of Taylor.
Taylor then drove a superb defensive race, holding off a series of determined passing moves from
Neal until Lap 11 when the pair made contact going into Old Hall and Neal took the lead briefly.
Taylor re-took the lead when Neal found himself on the outside line at Cascades, although that
lead was down to 0.180 seconds starting Lap 12. Neal then attempted to pass Taylor on the inside
at Old Hall and the pair made contact again, with both cars ending up in the barriers. Swift then
moved into the race lead, ahead of Alex Day (TCT) with Sunny Wong in third place in the
Teamwork Huff Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTI. The race was then red-flagged, leaving Carl
Swift to take the victory with Sunny Wong finishing on the podium on his TCR UK debut.
Carl Swift: “I got a great start and got up with Ollie before Henry came back and battled me for a
couple of laps. It was a good race, then I kind of just got lost, half a straight-length away from
them and then that (the incident on Lap 12) happened. It’s good to score maximum points, but it’ll
mean maximum ballast for Race 2!”
Following Swift’s victory in Race 1, Ollie Taylor then gave CUPRA the brand’s second win of the day
when he was victorious in Race 2.
Swift started from pole position on the revised Race 2 grid, but the Success Ballast he picked up
following his win meant that he was outgunned off the start line by the Audi of Alex Day, which
was competing in the TCT class, and so it was Day who led Swift into Old Hall corner. Taylor made
up three places on the opening lap to lie in third place behind Swift.
On Lap 2, Taylor passed Swift for second place and the Maximum Motorsport car then took the
lead two laps later when Taylor passed Day. Further back, Sunny Wong’s Teamwork Huff
Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTI was battling for fifth place with the TCT SEAT of James
Turkington, but a mistake on Lap 6 dropped Wong to the back of the field.
Swift had been threatening to snatch second position away from Day, but an off-track excursion
on Lap 10 cost Swift around 14 seconds and meant that Henry Neal moved up into third place.
Two laps later, Day’s Audi stopped and so Neal could resume the battle he’d had with Taylor for
the lead in Race 1 with Swift elevated to third place. Wong, meanwhile, had passed the TCT
CUPRA DSG of Guy Colclough and was battling with Turkington for fourth.
Taylor was able to hold onto his lead and crossed the finish line with 1.586 seconds in hand over
Neal. Swift finished third and so leaves Oulton Park in the lead of the Drivers’ championship, with
Wong finishing fifth.
Ollie Taylor: “I got a better start than I expected; a few other people didn’t get quite so good a
start, which helped me out. I did a lot of the hard work on the first lap. It’s quite hard to overtake
at Oulton Park – if you position the car in the right place, you can defend quite well. It took a little
while to establish where I could make my move but Carl ran wide at the last corner, which helped
me out. It was the same with Alex at Knickerbrook; he made a slight mistake in the same place the
lap before, which suggested it might be the place to make a move, then on the next lap he lost the
back end and lost his momentum up the hill. I’m very pleased, it was a great race and great fun.”
The next round of the 2019 TCR UK championship takes place at Donington Park on June 22nd/23rd