The Dunlop Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK Championship returns after a nine-week hibernation for the second round of the 2020 season from Silverstone.

For TCR UK, this will be the first time they’ve visited the circuit since the inaugural round of their first season in 2018. Back then, eventual champion Dan Lloyd took pole position and both victories as the TCR concept welcome itself to the United Kingdom.

One of the drivers to take part in that weekend was Stewart Lines. Now, over two years later and under Lines’ Maximum Motorsport guidance, the National layout returns to the calendar, with each entrant looking to better the lap record set by Lloyd, a 58.663.

An enthralling opening round at Oulton Park saw two of the 2019 protagonists, Lewis Kent and Henry Neal once again lock horns, each picking up a win and second place.

Kent, driving the Orange Hyundai i30 N TCR, arrives in Buckingham with a single point advantage courtesy of his higher grid position during the opening round qualifying and will know that consistency and podiums will be essential in his fight for the overall championship. A runner-up last season, nothing less the title will be on the plate for the Essex and Kent Motorsport driver, who during the break, made an appearance in TCR Europe, picking up valuable experience as fellow graduate Lloyd won the opening race at Paul Ricard, demonstrating the quality of competition that continues to be developed in the UK.

Despite this, it would be Henry Neal who took victory in the opening race, scything past Kent on lap 4 as the mixed conditions better suited his Team Dynamics car. Kent would not drop away though, crossing the line under three seconds behind last years top TCT driver.

Fortunes would be flipped in the second race as Kent got the jump on Neal’s Honda Civic Type R Fk2 during the opening lap. In slightly drier conditions, Kent had the advantage around Oulton, pulling away in the second half, but it’s all to play for at Silverstone as the two are expected to lock horns once again.

Of course, they weren’t the only drivers to pick up silverware during the weekend as Irish rookie Max Hart demonstrated, becoming one of the biggest improvers.

Piloting the Maximum Motorsport’s Cupra TCR, the Irish single-seater champion has made the step to Touring Car for this year and was not shy in proving his skills, despite never driven the car in the wet before that weekend.

Two podiums put him third in the championship and will be Kent and Neal’s biggest challenger in what has been proven to be a talented field. Sitting just 17 points off Kent, Hart remains a title contender and will be primed should any of the leaders slip up.

In this shortened season, DNF’s are expected to be detrimental to any campaign and none will know this more than Dan Kirby, who after picking up the fastest time in qualifying at Oulton Park was disappointed to leave with a fourth place and a retirement. In terms of raw speed the Power Maxed Racing driver will be one of the front runners and could yet upset the order with his CUPRA Leon TCR.

2019 Britcar runner-up Tim Docker returns for a second round at a circuit he’s had much experience at. An endurance racer by nature, the Volkswagen Golf GTI will be working upon his years of experience to better his fifth places from July.

Last year saw Darelle Wilson secure third in the TCR UK standings behind Kent and eventual champion James Turkington. A fourth place at Oulton Park will hopefully be a sign of more to come for the DW Racing driver. In his distinctively green Vauxhall Astra, Wilson will be gunning for a return to silverware at Silverstone.

To round off the quality field is a new addition to TCT/TCR UK, as Williams Butler joins the grid with the second Power Maxed Car. Driving a white Volkswagen Polo, Butler makes it six car brands across the field of seven drivers.

Both Sunday races will be live-streamed thanks to the BRSCC with qualifying taking place on Saturday 12th August at 12:00pm.

Stu Lane (Original post on Dunlop Touring Car Trophy website)


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