THRILLS AND SPILLS AT OPENING TCR UK RACE DAY AT OULTON PARK
Ollie Taylor bounced back from a sizeable accident in the opening round of the combined 2019 TCR UK Championship/Dunlop Touring Car Trophy to win the second race at Oulton Park when the BRSCC’s North Western Centre took charge on 11th May.
In the high-profile category’s first contest of the season, Taylor’s Seat Cupra TCR car initially had a comfortable lead after the Honda Civic Type R of pole-sitter, Henry Neal, made a poor getaway and dropped to fourth before he recovered to challenge Taylor after 8 laps. When Neal made a bid to overtake at Old Hall, the pair made contact but Taylor maintained his advantage. A similar incident occurred a short time later at the same corner however the outcome was far more serious on this occasion and the two cars speared straight on into the tyre wall where Neal’s car rolled onto its side.
Victory was inherited by Carl Swift’s Seat Cupra TCR with Alex Day taking the TCT Class in his Audi A4. Remarkably both Taylor and Neal had their steeds repaired in time for race 2 with the former being the quickest to come through from the back of the grid to take the flag ahead of Neal – the pair taking the TCR UK and TCT spoils respectively.
The Safety Car was scrambled almost as soon as the first Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship encounter got underway after James Clarke in a Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray crashed at the first corner when trying to take first place from his team mate Jonathan Browne. Once the green flag was waved, Browne held on out in front for the duration despite Ross Martin (Team Dolan Van Diemen) trying everything he knew to get by. With Browne taking sub-optimal lines to defend his position, Spike Kohlbecker (CDR Ray), Neil Maclennan (Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum) and Rory Smith (B-M Racing Medina) closed in on the duo although the latter retired with an engine issue.
Browne made another great start in race 2 but then had a nightmare 3 laps losing places to Martin, Kohlbecker and Maclennan. Once he had settled down Browne latched onto the back of the 3 cars ahead of him until on iap 7 Maclennan made a bid for second place at Hislops. Kohlbecker took his line and the two made contact causing both to spin, promoting Browne to second and Clarke to third – sensationally the latter had charged through from the back of the grid after his earlier first corner accident and afterwards paid tribute to the Cliff Dempsey Racing mechanics for repairing his wrecked car so quickly.
The Mazda MX5 SuperCup was the only category to enjoy a trio of outings. In the first of these, Aiden Hills pulled away at the start but was exceeding the track limits on the exit of Old Hall. After he received a warning flag for this exuberance, his more reserved approach to taking corners enabled the rest of the pack to close in. After one exciting side by side manoeuvre into Hislops, Hills then ran wide at Shell allowing Luke Herbert through to take the win from Jack Harding and Steve Roberts.
Next time Hills made no mistakes taking the laurels in style. Herbert inherited the runner-up position when Roberts and Harding collided at Shell. The final encounter featured a partially reversed grid. A great opening lap saw Harding establish an advantage that couldn’t be overturned although Hills, Herbert and Roberts were all on his tail at the end. This was an impressive performance by Roberts who started at the back following his race 2 crash.
A pair of Daniels – Reason and Hobson – stood on the top two steps of the first Disklok Civic Cup podium with Ben Sharpe on the third. From the second grid, which was reversed, the Dans could do no better than fourth (Reason) and sixth (Hobson) with the first 3 being made up of Lee Deegan, Alistair Camp and Bruce Winfield.
The BRSCC wish to thank all the officials and marshals who ensured the day ran smoothly, especially those at Old Hall who had a couple of serious incidents to deal with.
You can find a detailed breakdown of the weekend’s results at Oulton Park here OULTON PARK RESULTS