Darelle Wilson – My Road to the TCR UK Series: Part 4 – Looking forward to the new season!

Darelle Wilson competed in one of the most recognisable cars of the first ever season of the TCR UK Series, where he drove the family-run Vauxhall Astra TCR in its bright green livery.

Whilst preparations are underway to compete in the 2019 season, Wilson himself has opened up about how his journey to joining the TCR UK Series took place. The TCR Talk Blog will be sharing this journey on a regular basis.

In this final part of the story, the Vauxhall driver explains his overall performance in the second half of the first season of the TCR UK Series as well as what he learned about the car after the season ended and his future.

Rounds 4 and 5: Castle Combe and Oulton Park

Castle Combe saw the team make some tough decisions. Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

After the team visited VMax Engineering in Germany, the constraints of running on a tight budget hit home as they had to make some tough decisions in the following weeks.

Darelle explains the situation further.

“After the expense of the visit to Germany we were short on funds and the decision was made to wait until qualifying at Castle Combe to put new tyres on. The car was running fine and we were only two tenths off the pace and looking forward to an improvement in qualifying,” explained Wilson.

“Unfortunately the tiniest brush with a tyre wall at the final chicane broke the steering rack and sent the car careering across the track, deep into the undergrowth where it hit a long-forgotten piece of armco. With no spare that was that for the weekend.”

With the team needing to repair the car, they realised that budget constraints meant that unless finances improved considerably, they wouldn’t make it to the end of the season.

With this in mind, the tough decision was made to not race at Oulton Park.

Round 6: Croft

Wilson returned to the TCR UK Series at Croft. Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK Series

The penultimate race weekend of the season took place at Croft in Yorkshire and the team returned to the series with a repaired car. However, they faced another challenging weekend.

When an issue on track caused the front splitter to break, the team were faced with trying to make repairs whilst they also looked to source a replacement at the same time. After struggling in Free Practice and Qualifying, a new splitter arrived for race day, offering hope of some improved performances.

Darelle takes the story from here:

“After a very good start in race one, disaster struck again. The smallest contact with another competitor caused the steering rack to break again,” he explained.

“We now knew that there was a weakness in the design from the car builders. This meant that we would make sure to carry a spare in future but again that was the end of our weekend.”

Round 7: Donington Park

Wilson’s performances at Donington Park offered a lot more promise at the end of the season. Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK Series

The final round of the series took place at Donington Park in Leicestershire in a weekend of changing conditions that would challenge the team as they looked to end the season on a high note.

With the car showing good pace during Free Practice and Qualifying as Darelle was posting times good enough to be in the top six, things seemed to be on the up. Despite the difficult conditions, Darelle felt good in the car and was ready to have a good end to the year.

Darelle explains how the season ended:

“As the grid for race one formed, the expectations in our garage were high. The start lights went out and…nothing! A drive shaft had snapped and our race was over after five yards,” Wilson explained.

“Despite being the only Astra in the paddock we could not find a spare although I have to give to credit off to the other TCR teams who offered all kinds of help and suggestions to help get us out on track for the final race.”

“Josh Crogan, a VW Cup competitor in one of our cars and part of our race crew, rang somebody he knew who could repair the part. By the time the part was back at the track, the grid for race two was already formed and it was lap three before we could get the Astra back on the ground. Unfortunately, the driveshaft failed again and we had to push the car back into the garage to record another retirement.”

Despite the many challenges and issues faced last year, Darelle ended the season in tenth place overall in the driver’s championship.

Darelle’s thoughts on last season…

Darelle is eager to return to the series and show what the car is capable of. Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Both Darelle and the team learned many lessons during the season which have given them great confidence for this year.

In November, they were present at the MotorSportDay event at Silverstone where they found a great improvement in the cars handling. Darelle summarises his thoughts from last year.

“Being the only Astra on the TCR UK grid was very difficult and we realised that if we’d have been using a Volkswagen Audi Group TCR car (Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR, CUPRA TCR or Audi RS3 LMS TCR) we could have raced at Castle Combe, Croft & Donington as the other teams could have helped us out,” he said.

“The lesson we learnt is to budget for the necessary spares package to keep in the running all year. As the teams using the Opel Astra in Germany where on a different brand of tyre they couldn’t offer much assistance so we had to plug away at the issues on our own.”

“This year, ADAC TCR Germany are also running on Yokohama’s so I am sure we will be in a position to share information with them to help out each other. What we do know is: the car is fast and I am a capable driver of getting so much more out of it!”

As Opel Astra driver Harald Procyzk won the 2018 ADA TCR Germany title, Darelle knows the car has race winning pace. Credit: ADAC Motorsport / Gruppe C Photography

Darelle has made it very clear that without the support from Martin Depper, Taylex Display & Exhibition and his other backers that it wouldn’t have been possible for him and the family to run the car in 2018. To everyone involved, he passes on his heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

My thanks to Darelle for sharing this journey with me and opening up on how difficult it can be to go racing in any series with a new car.

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

Darelle Wilson – My Road to the TCR UK Series: Part 3 – Lets Go Racing!

Darelle Wilson competed in one of the most recognisable cars of the first ever season of the TCR UK Series, where he drove the family-run Vauxhall Astra TCR in its bright green livery.

Whilst preparations are underway to compete in the 2019 season, Wilson himself has opened up about how his journey to joining the TCR UK Series took place. The TCR Talk Blog will be sharing this journey on a regular basis.

In this third part of the story, the Vauxhall driver explains the experience he gained, the challenges he faced and his overall performance competing in the first season of the TCR UK Series.

Round 1: Silverstone

Darelle finally got his hands on the Vauxhall Astra TCR during the opening weekend of the TCR UK Series at Silverstone. Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

With the car having arrived at the circuit set up for a different tyre manufacturer (normally used in ADAC TCR Germany) Darelle and the team knew they had a difficult task ahead to get to grips with the car.

This issue wasn’t too apparent as he shook down the car in both the damp warm up & free practice sessions, however going into Qualifying the track conditions improved. Darelle suffered with the slick tyres & fell off the pace, eventually qualifying the Astra in seventh place on the grid.

Seventh in a grid of thirteen cars? Not a bad start to race day! Darelle explains his race performances below:

“In race one I made a good start and was feeling positive when I was hit from the rear and went off, getting stuck in the gravel trap. This wasn’t good as more than anything we needed track time with the car,” said Wilson

“Because of the DNF in the first race, we started race two from last on the grid, but we had a decent race where I managed to finish in seventh place. The engine was strong and brakes were good, but we needed to get to the bottom of the handling issue we were struggling with!”

Round 2: Knockhill

Darelle in action at Knockhill. Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK Series

The TCR UK Series moved to Knockhill for races three and four of the season where the competitors would race on the circuit in the reverse layout.

With the decision taken to run the car on used tyres in both the warm-up and free practice sessions in an attempt to save costs, this move ended up hindering Darelle. In Qualifying, the new tyres affected the cars handling and he ended up in eighth place for the race one grid.

Darelle explains his race performances below:

“On a greasy track the car came alive and I could easily race with the pack! However it was very difficult to make a clean overtake so I decided to play safe and settled for eighth place with a best lap two-tenths of a second slower than race winner Dan Lloyd,” explained the Vauxhall driver.

“At the start of race two, a couple of drivers ran wide so I was up to sixth place by the second corner. In what turned out to be a race of attrition for many others, I managed to cross the finish line in fourth place. Little did I know at the time that this would be my best result of the season!”

Round 3: Brands Hatch

Darelle struggled at Brands Hatch after a BoP adjustment.Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

The TCR UK Series moved on to Brands Hatch in Kent for races five and six of the season where the competitors would race on the well known and popular Indy circuit.

During the gap between Knockhill and Brands Hatch, there was an adjustment made to the Balance of Performance that’s used to keep all TCR cars as equal as possible, however, this had a negative effect on the Vauxhall Astra.

This meant that Darelle suffered on a circuit where he was expected to go well.

“It was a disaster! From free practice onwards, the car was lacking power. The shift light was telling me to change gear too early and the boost was coming in at all the wrong places on the track,” explained Darelle.

“None of the changes we tried made any difference and we struggled to get hold of Kissling Motorsport to see what support they could provide. We qualified thirteenth on the after struggling with the same  handling issue when the car was on new tyres.”

Race one would see Wilson finish in eleventh place whilst race two saw an improvement after he finished in sixth place. However, this was little reward as he finished over half a second off the pace of Lloyd on such a short lap.

Paying a visit to VMax Engineering…

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

After Brands Hatch, we decided to take the car to Germany and let Kissling Motorsport have a look to see what the issues were. Kissling Motorsport advised that we all meet up at their engine partners VMax Engineering based in Northern Germany

On arrival, the staff identified the problem almost straight away: The car had virtually no boost! Whilst Darelle and the team believed it to be an ECU problem it turned out to be an external component which controls the boost level.

As soon as this was rectified, the staff at VMax Engineering found a misfire at low revs which was caused by a problem in the wiring loom. With a used loom fitted to the car as they waited on a new one, Darelle and the team eventually left VMax Engineering with the car running fine.

Further issues with the Wiring Loom were encountered by the team as they used the Britcar event at Oulton Park as an extended test, however, Kissling Motorsport sent an engineer with new parts and the car was back to running at its best.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Darelle has made it very clear that without the support from Martin Depper, Taylex Display & Exhibition and his other backers that it wouldn’t have been possible for him and the family to run the car in 2018. To everyone involved, he passes on his heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

My thanks to Darelle for sharing this journey with me and opening up on how difficult it can be to go racing in any series with a new car.

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Croft

With the TCR Season now over, here’s a reminder of how the last weekends of the 2018 TCR UK Series finished.

TCR UK headed north to Croft in Yorkshire for the penultimate race meeting of the season where the 2.12 mile circuit played host to Rounds 11 and 12 of the championship.

Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the action that took place at Croft, from Qualifying on Saturday all the way through to Race One and Race Two on Sunday…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Croft:

Croft TCR UK Entry list 2018

Mathematically, there was a tiny chance that WestCoast Racing could be beaten to the Teams’ championship title, although that chance effectively ended once the Croft meeting got underway.

The string of race victories achieved by Dan Lloyd, together with the strong series of finishes by his two teammates, Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman, meant that the team could no longer be caught by its closest rival, Pyro Motorsport, and so secured the inaugural TCR UK Teams’ title.

The team confirmed that it would bring all three drivers to Croft, despite a direct clash with the TCR Scandinavia series this weekend in which WestCoast Racing has also been competing with regular driver Fredrik Ekblom.

The battle for the Drivers’ title was not quite so straightforward. Lloyd had seven race victories, including a remarkable six successive wins at Silverstone, Knockhill and Brands Hatch, compared to Ollie Taylor’s single win in Race 1 at Castle Combe.

Taylor’s consistency throughout the season, however, coupled with Lloyd’s penalties at Castle Combe and Oulton Park, meant that the pair were separated by 78 points heading to Croft with a possible 182 still on offer over the two remaining events. Lloyd could clinch the title if he outscored Taylor by 13 points…

However, the battle would go on to be decided at the championship’s final event at Donington Park.

2018-2018 Croft Race 1---2018 UK Croft R1, 50 Darelle Wilson_1

Away from the two title contests, Finlay Crocker and Darelle Wilson both returned to the TCR UK grid.

Crocker and Wilson missed the Oulton Park event and returned in the Verizon Connect Racing Honda Civic Type-R and the DW Racing Vauxhall Astra TCR respectively.

Andreas Bäckman claims maiden pole position in Croft Qualifying

WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman capitalised on changeable conditions in Qualifying for the TCR UK Series at Croft to claim his maiden pole position – despite switching cars for the event.

Having swapped to a Honda Civic for the weekend, after WestCoast Racing made a late decision to enter all three regular drivers into the event, Bäckman had to contend with changeable conditions in Qualifying in an unfamiliar car.

The Swede timed his final qualifying lap to perfection, being one of the last to cross the line on a drying circuit to post a time which was over half a second faster than Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor.

The entire field started the session on wet tyres, but as a drying line emerged the lap times began to fall, with Bäckman initially improving to third before putting in the pole lap on his final attempt with just seconds left on the clock.

Taylor ended up in second after completing just one flying lap in the session, 0.585 seconds shy of Bäckman’s pole time.

Maximum Motorsport’s Stewart Lines was a season-best third, the CUPRA driver capitalising on the conditions to secure a second-row starting position despite having his best lap time disallowed for exceeding track limits.

Championship leader Dan Lloyd, who had set the pace in both warm-up sessions and Free Practice earlier in the day, could only manage fourth in his WestCoast Racing Volkswagen, despite putting in a succession of fast laps towards the end of the session.

However, due to a five-place grid penalty from the previous meeting, Lloyd would start Sunday’s opening race from the back of the grid.

Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing) was fifth fastest in her Volkswagen, less than a tenth slower than her more experienced team-mate Lloyd and just over 1.1 seconds off the pace of her elder brother Andreas. Finlay Crocker (Verizon Connect Racing) overcame gear shift problems from earlier in the day to claim sixth in his  Honda Civic Type R, ahead of the Hyundai of Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) in seventh.

Series returnee Darelle Wilson completed the times in his Vauxhall Astra TCR, which ran with a repaired front splitter after damage picked up earlier in the day prevented the 29-year-old from taking to the circuit in free practice.

By posting just one flying lap time, Taylor secured pole position for the reversed-grid second race, which takes each driver’s second-fastest lap and reverses the top ten of those times. That gave the Pyro Motorsport driver the upper hand over title rival Lloyd in both of Sunday’s races, with the latter starting race two from seventh after his second-best time was reversed.

Andreas Bäckman secures maiden TCR UK win in first race at Croft

Bäckman took his first victory in the opening race for the TCR UK series at Croft, taking a lights-to-flag win in the Honda Civic ahead of duelling title rivals Ollie Taylor and Dan Lloyd.

Bäckman made a clean start from pole position and immediately pulled into a lead at the front, as Taylor slotted into second and was unable to keep pace with Bäckman in the early laps.

Championship leader Lloyd, meanwhile, made a superb start from last on the grid and hauled his Volkswagen into fifth by the time he got to the first corner, before getting past Finlay Crocker’s Verizon Connect Racing Honda further around the opening lap.

That put Lloyd in fourth and challenging for a podium position behind the CUPRA of Maximum Motorsport’s Stewart Lines. Lines did his best to hang on to a podium position, but on lap five Lloyd made a move at Tower bend and contact was made between the pair, allowing Lloyd to take third and sending Lines into the field on the exit of the corner.

With Lloyd released, he closed down the near-three second gap to Taylor ahead and by lap ten was on the rear bumper of the Honda. Lloyd kept the pressure on Taylor throughout the final five laps, even drawing alongside on the start straight on lap 11, but Taylor was able to hold on to the position and keep his fading title aspirations alive.

Crocker took the chequered flag in fourth to record his best result of the season, ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Jessica Bäckman in fifth. Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) and Lines completed the classified finishers in sixth and seventh respectively, one lap down, with both having made visits to the pitlane. DW Racing’s Darelle Wilson retired from the race after just two laps following contact with Kent early on.

Ollie Taylor reignites TCR UK title tilt with race two victory

Ollie Taylor reignited his championship challenge in the TCR UK series at Croft with a lights-to-flag victory in the reverse-grid second race, as his main rival Dan Lloyd retired on the opening lap.

Pyro Motorsport’s Taylor started the race from pole position and led into the first corner from Verizon Connect Racing’s Finlay Crocker and WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman, whilst further back Lloyd had hauled his Volkswagen into fourth after the first two corners.

Disaster then struck for Lloyd at the chicane, as he thumped the kerbs and his Volkswagen Golf speared off the circuit onto the infield with suspension damage, forcing him out of the race. Lloyd could then only watch from the sidelines as Taylor went on to secure his second win of the season, slashing Lloyd’s championship advantage to 31 points with only two races left to run.

Crocker took his best-ever TCR result on his return to the series, making it a 1-2 for the Pyro-run Honda Civic FK8 cars, whilst WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman made it a podium lock-out for Honda in third. Jessica Bäckman was the leading Volkswagen driver in fourth, with the WestCoast Racing driver improving on her race one performance after a relatively quiet race.

Stewart Lines brought his Maximum Motorsport CUPRA home in fifth, whilst Essex & Kent Motorsport’s Lewis Kent was the last of the classified finishers in sixth after pitting for a new tyre after picking up a puncture early in the race.

DW Racing’s Darelle Wilson failed to take the start after his recurring steering rack problems returned in race one, ruling his Vauxhall Astra out of the second encounter in Yorkshire.

The final round of the 2018  TCR UK Series would take place at Donington Park on 13-14 October.

2018-2018 Croft Race 1---2018 UK Croft R1, start

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR Europe Series: Spain…

With the TCR Season now over, here’s a reminder of how the last weekend of the 2018 TCR Europe Series finished.

Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the action that took place at the Catalunya circuit, from Qualifying all the way through to Race One on Saturday and Race Two on Sunday…

The 2018 TCR Europe Series Entry List For Catalunya:

Screenshot_20181101-171129__01

The final shootout at Circuit Catalunya

The TCR Europe Series’ season came to an end at Barcelona’s Circuit Catalunya, where Mikel Azcona looked to clinch the European crown on home soil.

2018-2018 Barcelona Race 2---2018 Barcelona R2, start_1 (1)

The young Spaniard and his PCR Sport Cupra held a 19-point leading margin in the standings over Leopard Lukoil Team’s Jean-Karl Vernay who was in great shape, having dominated the previous event in Monza and won Race One in the WTCR round at Wuhan at the wheel of his Audi RS3 LMS.

Dušan Borković (Target Competition Hyundai i30 N) was the third title contender, though he slipped down to third in the classification with a gap of 30 points.

With 55 points on offer at Barcelona, the Hungarian duo of Attila Tassi (Hell Energy Racing with KCMG Honda Civic FK7) and Dániel Nagy (M1RA Hyundai i30 N) were mathematically still in contention, but they are currently lying in fourth and fifth positions, 41 and 50 points off the leader respectively.

The event would also award the TCR Benelux Trophy which was led by Maxime Potty (Comtoyou Racing Volkswagen Gold GTI); the young Belgian was closely followed by Vernay and Danny Kroes (PCR Sport Cupra) with gaps of 4 and 6 points respectively.

Michelisz, Berthon and Halder lead a long list of guest stars

A long list of guest stars joined the TCR Europe field for the season finale at Barcelona.

2018-2018 Barcelona Friday---2018_Barcelona, 223 Nathanael Berthon_39.jpg

The group was led by the WTCR regulars Norbert Michelisz (M1RA Hyundai i30 N) and his fellow WTCR competitor Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS).

ADAC TCR Germany title contender Mike Halder joined Hell Energy Racing with KCMG in a third Honda Civic FK7 and the reigning FIA European Touring Car champion Petr Fulín completed his 2018 programme in the Fulín Race Academy Cupra.

TCR Europe Barcelona, Spain 19 - 21 October 2018

Other newcomers were TCR Russia race winner Klim Gavrilov (LTA Rally Volkswagen Golf GTI) and the winner of the Campenato de España Resistencia’s latest round Enrique Hermando (Sports & You Peugeot 308).

Former BTCC champion and TCR UK double race winner Ashley Sutton joined the Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman who classified third and fourth in the TCR UK Series at WestCoast Racing and the 2017 European Hillclimbing champion Nikola Miljković (LEIN Racing Cupra) made his debut.

Tassi and Files secure a Honda front row for Race One in Qualifying

The Hell Energy Racing with KCMG duo of Attila Tassi and Josh Files monopolised the front row for Race One, the penultimate round of the TCR Europe Series at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.

2018-2018 Barcelona Qualifying---2018 Barcelona, Tassi and Files_1.jpg

Tassi set the fastest lap of 1:53.861 on his second attempt in Q2 and demoted to second his teammate Files who had clocked a provisional fastest lap of 1:53.902 in his first run. The gap between them was just 41 thousandths.

In the battle for the European crown, current points leader Mikel Azcona moved another small step closer to the title as he qualified in third position and scored three points against the two points awarded to Dušan Borković for the fourth place.

Azcona was not able to repeat his Q1 exploit and settled in third with a lap of 1:54.167, followed by Borković (1:54.186), while Norbert Michelisz (1:54.198) and Ashley Sutton (1:54.367) filled the third row of the grid for Race 1.

TCR Europe Barcelona, Spain 19 - 21 October 2018

The third title contender, Jean-Karl Vernay failed to make the cut for Q2 and ranked 13th; the Frenchman was kicked out of the top-twelve by Mike Halder and dropped behind Reece Barr by just 45 thousandths.

The second Audi car of Berthon was eliminated as well after sitting in the pits for most of the time due to a broken turbo pipe.

Peter Terting and Halder qualified tenth and ninth respectively and will share the front row of the reverse grid for Race Two.

Tassi wins as the title fight sees Azcona, Borković, Vernay and Tassi in a four-way battle

It was to be a four-way fight for the TCR Europe Series Drivers’ title, as the battle would be decided in Race Two.

TCR Europe Barcelona, Spain 19 - 21 October 2018

Mikel Azcona was still the leader of the pack, but Dušan Borković, Jean-Karl Vernay and Attila Tassi managed to keep themselves in contention with some remarkable exploits in Race One.

Tassi took an authoritative lights-to-flag victory, the second for him in the season, as he sprinted from pole position and bid farewell to the rest of the pack, while Files protected his back.

Borković knew he had to stay ahead of Azcona to keep his hopes alive and overtook him at the start; then put the pressure on Files until the Englishman’s pace faded because of a tyre issue, which promoted the Serbian to second.

2018-2018 Barcelona Friday---2018_Barcelona, 62 Dusan Borkovic_1.jpg

Vernay was able to recover from 13th on the grid despite driving the heaviest car of the pack and finished sixth; he also won the TCR Benelux Trophy.

As for Azcona, he gave away a couple of places in the final laps in order to avoid the lesser risk; an eighth place in Race 2 will be enough for him to be crowned champion.

The battle for the Teams’ title was even hotter, with Hell Energy Racing with KCMG leading Target Competition by just three points and the title to be decided in the final race of the year.

Azcona is the champion, as Mike Halder claims maiden race victory

Mission accomplished! At the end of a nearly spotless season in which Mikel Azcona asserted himself as a fast and consistent driver, the young Spaniard grabbed the TCR Europe Series title.

TCR Europe Barcelona, Spain 19 - 21 October 2018

An exploit that is even more impressive considering that both, the 22-year-old driver and the PCR Sport team were facing their maiden international season.

Azcona was entirely focused on the title and let the others fight for the positions. Eventually, he drove his Cupra safe to the end in eighth place, right behind Jean-Karl Vernay, the only title contender who survived and would finish runner-up in the standings.

The others – Dušan Borković and Attila Tassi – were eliminated during the first lap in a collision that was later investigated by the Stewards and considered as a normal racing incident.

2018-2018 Barcelona Race 2---2018 Barcelona R2, 08 Reece Barr_106.jpg

With the title fight being decided by the placing, other drivers had an opportunity to shine.

Series newcomers Mike Halder and Ashley Sutton proved they have a place amongst the top-runners in TCR Europe. Halder, a title contender in TCR Germany, had been hired by the Hell Energy Racing with KCMG to help the team clinching the Teams’ title, and he successfully performed his duty driving his Honda Civic to a lights-to-flag victory that was worth the points needed to clinch the title.

Sutton, a former BTCC champion and TCR UK race winner, conquered a well-deserved podium by finishing third, sandwiched between M1RA teammates Dániel Nagy and Norbert Michelisz.

Driver quotes after the second race

2018-2018 Barcelona Race 2---2018 Barcelona R2, 909 Mike Halder_108.jpg

Mike Halder (winner): “I am of course very happy with this first participation in TCR Europe. It was my first time with the team, with the Yokohama tyres and here at Barcelona, so I can only be very satisfied with the result in Race 2, where the package proved really competitive. Not bad, considering that after being bumped off by another car in Free Practice 2, our plan for the weekend was disrupted. Next year I really would like to be able to do a double programme, TCR Germany and TCR Europe.”

Dániel Nagy (second): “It was much harder than it would seem from the outside. I am happy with the performance and to finish the season like that. My tyres were gone quite early, because of the close fight with Sutton. When I eventually could pass him, I had to manage the tyres and still, I was able to reduce the gap from Halder. I think that with a couple more laps, I could have caught him.”

Ashley Sutton (third): “I’m obviously very satisfied with the experience. It was my first race out of the UK and in such a big circuit. It was a good weekend for me and I enjoyed TCR Europe a lot.”

2018-2018 Barcelona Race 2---2018 Barcelona R2, 25 Mikel Azcona_280.jpg

Mikel Azcona (TCR Europe champion): “It’s great, I am so happy of this title! I can’t realize I have conquered a great continental championship such as TCR Europe, against such big names of Touring Car racing. And being crowned here, in Spain, in front of all my people, it is just a dream come true. I really want to thank everybody in the team and at Cupra for making this possible.”

2018 TCR Benelux Series Champion: Jean-Karl Vernay!

Jean-Karl Vernay clinched the TCR Benelux Trophy in the Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS3 LMS.

2018-2018 Barcelona Race 2---2018 Barcelona R2, 69 Jean-Karl Vernay_128.jpg

The Frenchman had arrived in Barcelona with a two-point gap behind Comtoyou Racing’s Maxime Potty, but was able to overturn the situation with victories in both the Spanish races.

“A title is a title! We were unlucky this season, but we never gave up. I dedicate this crown to my team and all the partners that supported me like never before,” Vernay said.

Potty finished as runner-up in his Volkswagen Golf GTI, 17 points behind Vernay, and Julien Briché completed the Trophy’s podium in the JSB Compétition Peugeot 308.

TCR Europe Barcelona, Spain 19 - 21 October 2018

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who share their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of WSC / TCR Europe Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

Darelle Wilson – My Road to the TCR UK Series: Part 2 – Funding Secured!

Darelle Wilson competed in one of the most recognisable cars of the first ever season of the TCR UK Series, where he drove the family-run Vauxhall Astra TCR in its bright green livery.

Whilst preparations are underway to compete in the 2019 season, Wilson himself has opened up about how his journey to joining the TCR UK Series took place. The TCR Talk Blog will be sharing this journey on a regular basis.

In this second part of the story, the Vauxhall driver explains how he secured funding to buy the Opel Astra TCR and was able to finally get to grips with the car during the first weekend of the TCR UK Series.

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The Vauxhall Astra that Darelle Wilson drove in the 2018 TCR UK Series. Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Having tested the Opel Astra TCR in Germany, it was already clear that Darelle wanted to race the car in the UK. However, as always, to go racing you first need some funding…

“On returning from Germany I was buzzing with the excitement of racing in TCR for the inaugural season. But the reality of it was, that after working out the minimum budget to do the series we were a long way off being able to raise that sort of money,” explains Wilson.

“Stefan from Kissling Motorsport came up with a payment plan which would involve an initial deposit, another payment before the car was delivered and a final payment before June.”

In order to raise the money to buy the car, tough decisions had to made and this process involved the Volkswagen Scirocco that Darelle had driven to end the 2017 season on a high note.

“We decided to sell the VW Scirocco however this would mean we had nothing to fall back on should the TCR plan not come to fruition. With the decision made I sent the deposit to Kissling & they set about building the car.”

With the Astra being built in Germany, there was still the matter of getting funds together to racing in the full season of TCR UK. Fortunately, a familiar Saviour was about to save the day…

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Martin Depper came to the teams rescue by paying to drive the Volkswagen Scirocco Darelle had driven in 2017. Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

“At this stage, we had secured a few small promises of sponsorship but nothing major. Then I had a phone call from Martin Depper to ask could we run a car in the VW for him,” explained Darelle.

“I suggested that we use the Scirocco and a test day at Donington was quickly arranged. Thankfully everything went well and Martin agreed on a package to race our car for the season!”

And just like that, the funds were secured!

With the funds in place, Darelle contacted Kissling Motorsport and confirmed that they would make the second payment before the Official press day for TCR UK. His only request was to have the car delivered to Silverstone when it was ready.

After a great effort from Kissling Motorsport, the car arrived at Silverstone on Thursday 29th March, which was the day before the Official test.

Taylex Display & Exhibition arrived a little later to wrap the car and apply graphics so the car would appear in the familiar DW Racing team colours for Friday’s running of the cars.

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Darelle finally got his hands on the Vauxhall Astra TCR during the opening weekend of the TCR UK Series at Silverstone. Credit: Les Latham

Come Friday and the team were informed not to start the car until the technicians arrived from Germany as this would be the official hand over of the car to them. Unfortunately, their flight to the UK was delayed and the team could do nothing but wait.

Once Darelle was in the car, it was a realisation of all of the hard work put in so far.

“During the day we managed to get 2 laps behind the camera car with the other cars which was both a relief and a pain at the same time,” he explains.

“Yes we had made it !! but I wanted to go FASTER!!”

At this stage, Darelle and the team had managed to get the car to Silverstone but they were also broke…

“The car had arrived with Hankook tyres that were used in the ADAC TCR Germany Series and the championship organisers would not let us do the morning warm-up on them as TCR UK uses Yokohama’s.”

“At this stage, We could only afford 1 set of slick tyres & 1 set of wet tyres so we chose to wait until the start of qualifying to use them.”

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The first ever TCR UK Series race at Silverstone. Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

With the car setup at Silverstone and only having tyres for both Qualifying and the two races (Where the conditions were very mixed!) the next challenge was how would Darelle fair in a brand new car on tyres he’d never tried against a field of debutants in the Opening races of TCR UK?

To Be Continued…

Darelle has made it very clear that without the support from Martin Depper, Taylex Display & Exhibition and his other backers that it wouldn’t have been possible for him and the family to run the car in 2018. To everyone involved, he passes on his heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

My thanks to Darelle for sharing this journey with me and opening up on how difficult it can be to go racing in any series with a new car.

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Darelle Wilson. Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK Series

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started in 2018.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Oulton Park

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship arrived at Oulton Park in Cheshire for its “One Day Special” event in Cheshire for its fifth weekend of racing.

This event ran on the Saturday only due to noise restrictions, however it saw a new entry in Tim Docker. Docker was entered as the third Maximum Motorsport driver, piloting the ex-Motorbase Volkswagen Golf which he has also driven in Britcar competition this year.

A last minute change of driver saw reigning BTCC Champion Ash Sutton step in for Finlay Crocker, who was unable to compete at the Cheshire circuit due to business commitments.

It can be safely said that Sutton left his mark on the Championship…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Oulton Park:

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Super-sub Sutton secures Oulton Park pole on TCR UK debut

Verizon Connect Racing’s Ash Sutton secured pole position on his TCR UK début at Oulton Park with a supreme lap that was 0.567 seconds quicker than WestCoast Racing’s Dan Lloyd.

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Having topped Friday’s second test session and then Saturday morning’s Free Practice session, Sutton marked himself as the man to beat around the Oulton Park International circuit.

The Honda Civic Type R driver went to the top of the times on his first full flying lap in the 30-minute qualifying session, posting a lap of 1 minute 42.348 seconds. That time put Sutton at the top by a comfortable margin over the TCR UK series points leader Lloyd, who left it until late in the session to secure a front-row grid position for the first race of the day, setting his best time with just two minutes to go.

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Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor was third, just under eight tenths behind team-mate Sutton, having been set for a Pyro 1-2 until Lloyd’s Volkswagen separated the Hondas. Andreas Bäckman (WestCoast Racing) was fourth fastest in his Golf GTi, whilst DPE Motorsport’s Derek Palmer Jr secured a best qualifying result of the season in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta by going fifth.

Also taking a best qualifying result of the year was CUPRA driver Stewart Lines in sixth, ahead of the third WestCoast Racing Volkswagen of Jessica Bäckman in seventh. Lewis Kent was eighth quickest in his Hyundai, after his team had to work flat-out after the practice session to fix a problem with his front-left wheel hub, which saw him lose a wheel earlier in the day.

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The second DPE Motorsport Alfa Romeo of Robert Gilmour and Maximum Motorsport’s second CUPRA of Carl Swift rounded off the top ten, whilst the Maximum Motorsport-run Volkswagen of Tim Docker completed the times in 11th.

Swift secured the pole position for race two, which is set by the reversed second fastest times of each driver, with Sutton alongside him.

Sutton sprints to victory in interrupted race one

Ash Sutton claimed his maiden win in the TCR UK series with a dominant display in a disrupted race one, with the Verizon Connect Racing driver winning by over 16 seconds from WestCoast Racing’s Dan Lloyd.

2018-2018 Oulton Park Race 1---2018 UK Oulton PK R1, 88 Ashley Sutton_2

The first start saw Sutton hold on to his lead into Turn 1 as behind him Ollie Taylor slipped past Lloyd to claim second. However, after just one lap of racing, the red flags were brought out when Robert Gilmour and Carl Swift tangled at Island bend, making heavy contact with the barriers and causing extensive damage to both the Alfa Romeo and the CUPRA.

After a half-hour delay whilst the barriers were repaired, the race restarted as a 15-minute sprint to the flag. Sutton immediately got down to business, opening up a clear gap, whilst behind him Derek Palmer Jr moved into second at the first corner.

Palmer would then hold that position for the remainder of the race, despite pressure from firstly Taylor and latterly Lloyd. However, the Alfa Romeo driver would be demoted to fourth upon completion of the race, due to receiving a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits.

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That gave Lloyd second and allowed the Volkswagen driver to extend his championship lead, whilst his team-mate Andreas Bäckman completed the podium after Taylor was also given a 10-second penalty for being out of position on the starting grid.

Lewis Kent took fifth in his Hyundai, whilst Jessica Bäckman was sixth in her Volkswagen.

Stewart Lines followed up his best qualifying of the year with another points finish in seventh as the only CUPRA driver to finish, whilst Taylor was classified in eighth after his penalty was applied. TCR UK newcomer Tim Docker completed the classified finishers in ninth.

Sutton reigns supreme in action-packed Oulton Park Race Two

Ash Sutton continued his dominance of the TCR UK races at Oulton Park with a second successive lights-to-flag win in race two, as Ollie Taylor pipped Lewis Kent to second place on the last lap.

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Sutton inherited pole position when reverse-grid pole-sitter Carl Swift was unable to take up his pole position after a shunt in race one. That gave Sutton a clear run down to the first corner on the opening lap, and the Honda Civic Type-R racer never looked back.

Second went to Taylor on the very last corner of the final lap, as several laps of sustained pressure on Kent finally paid dividends for the title challenger. Kent completed the podium in third, having run over the grass on the run up to the finish, to claim his second silverware of the season.

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Lloyd took the chequered flag in fourth, although the championship leader received three points on his licence and a five-place grid penalty for his next race following contact with Stewart Lines on lap seven, whilst the duo were scrapping for what was then the final podium place.

Jessica Bäckman finished in fifth, whilst Lines took the finish in sixth after losing significant time in the contact with Lloyd at Cascades. The CUPRA driver was buoyed after posting the fastest lap of the race.

Tim Docker and Andreas Bäckman completed the top ten, the latter after having to pit to deal with gearbox issues.

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Derek Palmer had been running in the final podium position, but the Alfa Romeo driver went off at Lodge Corner on lap six and retired from the race. Neither Carl Swift (Maximum Motorsport) nor Robert Gilmour (DPE Motorsport) took the start due to the damage their cars sustained in race one.

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship resumes for its penultimate weekend of action at Croft in Yorkshire on the 8th and 9th September.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

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Oulton Park showed us one of several things: Ash Sutton left his mark on the Championship…

The reigning BTCC Champion filled in for Finlay Crocker in the Pyro Motorsports run Verizon Connect Racing Honda Civic TCR and promptly took the car to being Fastest in Practice, setting Pole Position in Qualifying and then romping home to take both of the race wins.

Championship leader Daniel Lloyd has some competition! Now just imagine how the series would have looked with just Croft and Donington Park left if Ash had also run a dual campaign over the season. That would have been an impressive fight!

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What was also good to see were the CUPRA’s and the Alfa Romeo’s showing good pace with improved Qualifying and Race paces respectively. Maximum Motorsport have been threatening this form since Brands Hatch and I suspect they will be challenging for more podiums at Croft and Donington Park.

With Croft and Donington Park looming on the horizon, this also means that the first ever season of TCR UK is slowly winding down. However there are so many more stories to be told before the end of the final race at Donington Park in October. The series has done well so far and there is a lot of talk about a bigger entry for 2019 after seeing the racing and cars in action this year.

For me, its all about seeing if Ollie Taylor can catch Dan Lloyd. Retirements can happen and its been seen before where a massive championship lead advantage has been zeroed or lost. The final two weekends of the year will have four more exciting weekends with the chance that there could always another twist in the tale.

2018-2018 Oulton Park Saturday---2018 UK Oulton PK, 76 Robert Gilmour_3

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Castle Combe

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Castle Combe in Wiltshire for its fourth weekend of racing.

This event has been one of the most talked about rounds with the fans on Social Media as top line Touring Car Racing raced at the circuit for the first time.

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Castle Combe:

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Taylor snatches Castle Combe pole by three thousandths of a second

Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor secured pole position for the opening TCR UK race at Castle Combe, eclipsing championship leader Dan Lloyd by just 0.003s.

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Lloyd had set the pace earlier on in the half-hour session, only to be denied in the latter stages from scoring a fourth consecutive pole position by Taylor’s impressive effort.

Consolation for Lloyd is that he will start second in both the races, with his second-best time ensuring a front-row start in the reverse-grid contest at the 1.85-mile Wiltshire circuit. Lloyd led a WestCoast Racing trio in front of Andreas Bäckman who heads the second row with sibling Jessica for company with a time within a second of Taylor’s benchmark.

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Lewis Kent jumped from ninth to fifth in the second half of the session, with a time of 1:08.238, meaning the Brands Hatch podium finisher will start from the third row of the grid. Finlay Crocker was sixth, 1.265 seconds off pole position, ahead of the Maximum Motorsport CUPRAs of Carl Swift and Stewart Lines in seventh and eighth respectively.

Derek Palmer (DPE Motorsport) was ninth in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, with Darelle Wilson rounding out the top ten with a time he set before his session-ending incident.

Due to his accident Wilson was set to start race two from reverse-grid pole, but his participation is looking uncertain after he sustained heavy damage after an off into the infield at Bobbies. The Alfa Romeo of Robert Gilmour was forced to miss the session after an earlier ECU problem.

Ollie Taylor takes first TCR UK win at Castle Combe

Ollie Taylor secured his first TCR UK win after surviving contact with Dan Lloyd’s Volkswagen Golf on the final lap.

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Standings leader Lloyd made a poor start and dropped back on the opening lap, but survived drama at Quarry Corner as Jessica Bäckman and a fast-starting Finlay Crocker made contact. Crocker’s Verizon Connect Racing’s Honda went across the grass and hit Stewart Lines, forcing the latter to retire with radiator damage.

The safety car was then deployed, and Lloyd began to progress once the race got back underway, passing Lewis Kent on the start/finish straight after forcing him into an error through Camp Corner. He then made his way past team-mate Andreas Bäckman – who eventually completed the podium – before setting his sights on polesitter Taylor.

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He steadily reduced the gap before making a last-gasp move into Quarry Corner, hitting the side of Taylor’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 before completing the overtake at The Esses. Taylor attempted to fight back but was forced to settle for second, ahead of Andreas Bäckman and Kent, who tried to challenge the Swedish racer in the middle phase of the race.

The top five was rounded out by Carl Swift’s CUPRA, who had breathing space at the line after a tense battle with Derek Palmer’s Alfa Romeo, which slowed on circuit after challenging Swift and pitted with a few laps remaining. That DNF continued DPE Motorsport’s woes as Palmer’s teammate Robert Gilmour did not contest the opening race due to an ongoing ECU problem.

Afterwards the Stewards overturned the race win and awarded this to Taylor, with Lloyd’s move being deemed as Un-Sportsman-like.

Dan Lloyd secures his seventh win of 2018 campaign

Dan Lloyd won a dramatic reverse-grid race at Castle Combe to take his seventh TCR UK victory this season, ahead of Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor.

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Lloyd started the race from pole and faced early pressure from Carl Swift, who made a great start to challenge Lloyd around the outside at Quarry Corner on the opening lap, before settling for second for the remainder of the lap.

Race one winner Taylor made progress on the opening lap, and eventually hunted down Lewis Kent and then Carl Swift to take the chequered flag in second position, 1.7 seconds adrift of Lloyd. By the time Taylor made it to second, Lloyd enjoyed a seven second advantage, which was then nullified by a late safety car period following contact between Jessica Bäckman and Stewart Lines at Camp Corner.

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The pair were battling for fifth and sixth position when they tangled at the last turn and made heavy contact with the barrier, necessitating the safety car. Lines was later disqualified from the race and received four penalty points for the incident.

When the field returned to green flag racing, Lloyd got the jump on Taylor while Swift held station in third position. The CUPRA racer finished the race third but initially received a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, dropping him down to fifth. After the race, Swift successfully appealed the decision and the penalty was withdrawn, which reinstated his first TCR UK podium result.

Derek Palmer secured his best result so far this season with fourth in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while his teammate Robert Gilmour did not start either race this weekend due to an ongoing ECU problem.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

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So, lets recap. There were twelve entries for the weekend and this dropped to eleven when Howard Fuller confirmed that due to budget reasons he wasn’t able to take part. To further add to this Darelle Wilson suffered terminal damage to his Vauxhall Astra after a big off in Qualifying and Robert Gilmour had an ECU issue that kept him out of the running.

Despite this, nine cars took part in both races and both races were really exciting with a lot of chasing and strategy required in trying to make passes on the fast Wiltshire circuit. With this event being one the fans were really talking about, the response back was really positive about the racing and the access to the drivers and teams.

However what the circuit also posed was a challenge with potentially two places to pass with a lot of high speed panning required. That’s not a bad thing as with most UK circuits, its bloody difficult to pass anyway!

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Again the subject of numbers came up, however you can’t account for the possibility of Budget issues or Mechanical/Damage Issues during a weekend. These things happen over any race weekend in any series, however it seems to be highlighted more with this series than anyone else. To add to this, other expected entries didn’t appear due to Budgets or trying to secure a car to race with. Its not that easy to do!

Oulton Park is next on Saturday 4th August and the action all takes place on the Saturday with Qualifying live online and both races also streamed live as normal. Oulton is always a challenge and its one I’m looking forward to.

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As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Brands Hatch

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Brands Hatch for its third weekend of racing and saw an increased entry list as well as some interested observers who just failed to make the entry in time…

The biggest news was that between Knockhill and Brands Hatch Laser Tools Racing decided to leaves the series, which left a question on the participation of the Alfa Romeo’s. This was soon answered with DPE Motorsport (who originally purchased the Alfa’s and announced their participation) confirming the cars would be a season long entry with Robert Gilmour brought in to race the second car.

There was also a provisional entry list that alluded to a potential 17 car entry, however due to a lack of funds/time/resources, these entries did not make it to the grid. One of the provisional entries was for BTCC runner up Sam Tordoff…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Brands Hatch:

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Daniel Lloyd secures pole position for the opening TCR UK Series race at Brands Hatch.

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A quickest time of 48.483 seconds around the 1.2 mile Indy Circuit configuration on his final run meant the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR racer and championship leader headed up the front row alongside Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor, who enjoyed a strong start to life with the Honda Civic Type R FK7 in second, three tenths adrift.

Strong performances from Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman put the sister WestCoast Racing machines into third and fifth respectively, with Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR separating the pair as he chases a season-best result from fourth.

BMR Autoglym Academy’s Josh Price was another to improve in the second half of the session and will start the FK2 model from sixth, whilst the second Pyro-run FK7 of Finlay Crocker and championship newcomer Robert Gilmour (DPE Motorsport) share the fourth row behind in close company.

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Row five was an all-CUPRA and Maximum Motorsport affair, with Stewart Lines heading Carl Swift, both of whom have now made the switch to a sequential gearbox from a DSG unit, and the latter will start the second race from a reverse-grid pole position.

Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Howard Fuller marked his racing return to Brands Hatch with eleventh, half a second clear of Alex Morgan as the Renault Mégane TCR makes its competitive debut in the UK.

Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra lines up in thirteenth, a further tenth of a second behind, with Derek Palmer set to round out the field after a mechanical issue prevented his Alfa Romeo Giulietta from setting a fast lap.

Lloyd fights back to win fifth consecutive TCR UK race

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WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd claimed victory in the opening TCR UK championship race at Brands Hatch after recovering to edge out a fast-starting Ollie Taylor.

The Pyro Motorsport racer made the better start from the front row and edged ahead in the Honda Civic Type R FK7 on the outside line heading into Paddock Hill Bend. Drama ensued behind the pair as Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) moved up to third and then made light contact with Lloyd’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR at Druids, before sliding a little wide at Graham Hill Bend and allowing the top two to escape up the road.

Though Taylor held firm in his defence of the lead, Lloyd would not be denied and pounced on an opening at Clearways to reclaim top spot and then extended his advantage to 1.8 seconds before the end. The result increases his advantage in the championship to 80 points, whilst second for Taylor means he moves up to the same position in the standings.

Josh Price (BMR Autoglym Academy) looked to have held onto fourth after an absorbing race-long contest with Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing), but disaster struck on the run to the chequered flag and the Honda Civic FK2 slowed, allowing the TCR Scandinavia racer to seize a strong result on her debut at the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.

Another drama struck the CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) on the formation lap as an issue with the air jacks forced him to a halt, but swift work by his mechanics allowed him to make the start, and he recovered in composed fashion to post a season-best result of fifth. Jessica’s sibling Andreas survived a sideways moment after contact at Surtees to put all three WestCoast Racing machines in the top six, ahead of the Pyro Motorsport machine of Finlay Crocker.

Carl Swift claimed eighth and looked to capitalise on pole position in the reverse-grid race as he chases a maiden victory in the series, with Price eventually crossing the line ninth and Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) rounding out the top ten after edging out a thrilling scrap with Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra.

Alex Morgan was forced to retire the Renault Megane TCR on its competitive debut on domestic shores, but gathered valuable data on the car and will look for a better turn of luck in the second contest later today.

Daniel Lloyd and Jessica Bäckman give WestCoast a 1-2 finish

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WestCoast Racing secured a 1-2 finish in the final TCR UK Touring Car Championship contest at Brands Hatch, with championship leader Daniel Lloyd taking a sixth victory in a row to extend his lead in the standings.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR started on the fifth row of the grid but made a strong start and cut through the field in sublime fashion, eventually besting a stoic defence from the CUPRA of Carl Swift to seize the advantage into Graham Hill Bend. The result extends Lloyd’s advantage at the top of the table to 99 points.

Team-mate Jessica Bäckman followed Lloyd through to complete a strong result for the Swedish outfit – her first podium in the championship – with Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) emerging on top of a duel for the final spot on the rostrum with the sister Maximum Motorsport machine of Stewart Lines.

Swift drove valiantly but was unfortunate to pull off at Surtees in the closing stages with a suspected front-right suspension problem, whilst contact between Lines and Andreas Bäckman on the exit of Druids similarly prevented the latter from challenging for silverware.

Ollie Taylor saw out a strong weekend with fifth in the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic Type R FK7, though team-mate Finlay Crocker’s obvious pace went unrewarded and a spin at McLarens forced the Scottish racer into the pits and out of contention.

Darelle Wilson put in a season-best showing in the Vauxhall Astra, claiming sixth ahead of Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR, which started well but fell back and eventually took seventh via a trip to the pit lane for a tyre change.

In a race of high attrition Swift came next ahead of Backman, with Crocker, Josh Price’s Honda Civic FK2 after a suspected recurring fuel surge and the Renault Megane TCR of Alex Morgan rounding out the field after continued mechanical struggles.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

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Brands Hatch offered some great racing from the TCR UK Series and it also confirmed that the interest from Knockhill wasn’t just a one off. Whilst Laser Tools Racing decided to return to the BTCC, the cars remained in the series with DPE Motorsport, putting to bed the many rumours that the series was in trouble without the cars or team being involved.

Dont. Be. So. Bloody. Ridiculous!!!

With the arrival of Alex Morgan and the Renault Megane being developed by Wolf Power Racing for their ADAC TCR Germany campaign (the car is in its first year of development) and also the signal of intent from both Sam Tordoff and BMR Team Principal Warren Scott about wanting to take part, this showed that there are others out there watching with interest.

14 cars is a great entry list and even with the two Alfa Romeo’s not competing due to engine issues, 12 cars on track is still a good sign. I maintain that unless the series reaches the lows of TCR Italy in its first year (2 full season entries, 7 part time entries that did not race at every TCR Italy event…) then there is still a lot of hope for TCR UK.

Lets give it a bloody chance eh?

Finally I felt for Carl Swift. The Maximum Motorsport driver led the most laps of the year so far before Lloyd found a way past. It was great to see Swift holding and defending his line and retirement for the CUPRA driver was a poor reward for a podium that was waiting for him. Looking forward to more positive performances!

2018-2018 Brands Hatch Race 1---2018 UK Brands Hatch R1, 32 Oliver Taylor_2

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series: Knockhill

The 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship moved on to Knockhill in April for is second weekend of racing and enjoyed a larger entry on the grid.

Sean Walkinshaw stepped in to make his FWD debut in the Honda Civic whilst Howard Fuller was unable to drive due to other commitments whilst Josh Price made his first appearance in a 2017 Honda civic run by the BMR Autoglym Academy outfit.

Dan Lloyd secures pole position in competitive Knockhill qualifying

Round 2 TCR UK Series
Credit: Craig McAllister / CMC Images

Dan Lloyd made it two pole positions out of two events by securing the top time in qualifying for the TCR UK series at Knockhill, as local racer Aiden Moffat qualified on the front row of the grid in second.

Championship leader Lloyd made his intent clear early on in a sunny Qualifying session when he went to the top of the times after eight minutes.

But with Scottish racer Moffat getting ever-quicker, Lloyd had to improve his lap time throughout the session, eventually setting a time of 50.823 seconds to claim pole position for the first race.

Laser Tools Racing’s Moffat ended up two and a half tenths back having posted his best lap time of the weekend on the anti-clockwise configuration of the Knockhill circuit.

Round 2 TCR UK Series
Credit: Craig McAllister / CMC Images

The series once again featured a diversity of brands in the top three positions, as Lloyd’s Volkswagen and Moffat’s Alfa Romeo were followed by the Honda Civic of Ollie Taylor (Pyro Motorsport) in third, who improved his time twice inside the final ten minutes to secure a strong starting position.

Swedish racer Andreas Bäckman was fourth fastest, giving the WestCoast Racing driver a second row starting position for Race One.

TCR newcomer Josh Price (BMR Autoglym Academy) overcame an engine failure in practice to take to the circuit with seconds to spare at the beginning of the half-hour session, qualifying his Honda Civic in fifth, ahead of the 2018-specification Honda of Scottish racer Finlay Crocker (Verizon Connect Racing) in sixth.

Lewis Kent put his Hyundai i30 N in seventh for the first race, with the third WestCoast Racing Volkswagen of Jessica Bäckman in eighth.

Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) was ninth in his Vauxhall Astra, ahead of TCR UK debutante Sean Walkinshaw in tenth and Derek Palmer Jr (Laser Tools Racing) completing the field in 11th. Walkinshaw had earlier missed practice whilst he waited for a spare suspension component to be delivered to the circuit after a failure on Friday.

The grid for the second race, which is based on a reversal of the top ten drivers’ second fastest laps, saw Walkinshaw start from pole position with Wilson alongside.

Daniel Lloyd victorious in exciting opening race at Knockhill

Round 2 TCR UK Series

WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd put in a flawless drive to take victory in the opening TCR UK Series race at Knockhill, as Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor and the BMR Autoglym Acamdemy’s Josh Price completed the podium after a thrilling scrap.

Lloyd started the race from pole position and never looked back as he built up a comfortable margin early in the race, whilst the pack behind him scrapped for position in a thrilling race.

Taylor had got the jump on Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat at the start, before he slid wide in his Honda Civic on lap six and dropped to fourth, releasing Moffat to try to reduce Lloyd’s then six-second gap.

However, Moffat’s charge came to an abrupt end at the mid-point of the race when he suffered from a driveshaft failure, elevating WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman into second.

A mid-race safety car period was required in order to retrieve the beached Hyundai i30 N of Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) who had gone off at McIntyres whilst running in 11th, and when the race resumed on lap 22 Andreas Bäckman made an unforced error into the first turn, locking his brakes and handing second to Taylor.

Round 2 TCR UK Series

Bäckman sought to re-pass the Honda two laps later but contact between the pair gave Price the opportunity to move into second. The BMR driver would only hold the position for two laps though, and Taylor re-passed with just five laps to run and the podium positions would remain unchanged thereafter.

Fourth went to Bäckman, ahead of Sean Walkinshaw in fifth, who is making his TCR UK race début for his team of the same name this weekend.

Derek Palmer finished the race as Laser Tools Racing’s sole remaining Alfa Romeo in sixth after a relatively uneventful drive for the Scot, ahead of Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing) in seventh.

Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) was eighth, having received a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits in the race, although his race ended with an accident with Finlay Crocker (Verizon Connect Racing) at McIntyres bend on the final lap, despite the latter running a lap down. Crocker had earlier suffered from several spins during the race and was a lap down as a result.

Incident-packed Race 2 at Knockhill delivers thrills aplenty

2018-2018 Knockhill Race 1---2018 UK Knockhill R1, 23 Daniel Lloyd_3

Daniel Lloyd continued his dream start to the TCR UK Series with victory in the reversed-grid second race at Knockhill, coming through from ninth on the grid to take his fourth win of the year ahead of Josh Price and Sean Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw started the race on pole position and led heading into Turn 1, but the Hyundai of Lewis Kent got an even stronger start from the second row of the grid and immediately made a move into Taylor’s Hairpin, with slight contact allowing Kent into the lead. Further back Team BMR’s Josh Price, who had started from sixth, got past Walkinshaw for second on lap four, and immediately set about slashing Kent’s early lead. On lap seven Kent made a mistake at Turn 1, gifting Price the lead, although the Honda driver would only be at the front of the field for four laps.

Championship leader Lloyd had been making steady progress in the early phase of the race, moving up to sixth by the end of the first lap and into second by lap eight. On lap 11 Lloyd got a superior exit from Turn 1 and passed Price for the lead heading towards Turns 2 and 3 with a clean pass.

Lloyd had opened up a lead of over two seconds by lap 23 when the safety car was required to clear up the damaged Honda of Ollie Taylor. The Pyro Motorsport driver had spent much of the first half of the race running seventh, before stepping up a gear heading into the final third of the race. Whilst trying to pass WestCoast Racing’s Jessica Bäckman for fourth at Turn 1 the two cars made contact and title contender Taylor was out of the race with broken steering.

Round 2 TCR UK Series
Credit: Craig McAllister / CMC Images

With the clock continuing to count down there was only time for one more racing lap when the action resumed, and Lloyd went early to build enough of a lead to take his fourth win of 2018. Price ultimately settled for second, ahead of Walkinshaw in third, giving the latter’s fledgling team a maiden podium in TCR. DW Racing’s Darelle Wilson was fourth, with the Vauxhall Astra racer almost securing a podium finish after pressuring Walkinshaw late in the race.

The Bäckman siblings finished in fifth and sixth, with Andreas ahead of sister Jessica respectively. Both WestCoast Racing cars were involved in fierce battles during the race, with their Volkswagen Golf GTi cars bearing the scars of multiple contacts at the end as the Knockhill circuit once again delivered close battles. Derek Palmer once again had to fly the flag for the Laser Tools Racing team and finished in seventh, as team-mate Aiden Moffat failed to make the start with a different failure to the driveshaft issue that took him out of the running in race one.

Lewis Kent completed the finishers in eighth, two laps down after tyre issues struck during the race.

Another two victories mean Lloyd leaves Scotland with a 66-point lead over Andreas Bäckman in second, with Taylor a further seven points behind in third.

The Guru’s Thoughts…

2018-2018 Knockhill Saturday---2018 UK Knockhill, 28 Josh Price_.jpg

The second weekend of the 2018 TCR UK Touring Car Championship showed that the exciting spectacle of TCR Racing takes place in every TCR Series around the world. Add some greasy conditions on a drying track and your guaranteed of exciting races.

I’m not going to talk about the Qualifying/Race Day issue, as far as I’m concerned it was sorted out on the day. Its not the best way to have done things with the decisions taking place live on air, but time constraints led to this happening in the way it did.

It was great to see Josh Price enter with BMR Autoglym Academy Honda Civic and it showed that others are interested in join the series in its first year. In a season where so far a lot of people have commented on the grid size (due to oversized expectation built by everyone outside of the series), a new car and team entering the fray shows that what I have said all along is correct:

People are waiting in the wings to see how it progresses before committing to an entry. Thats fair enough, its a new series and to make it worth their while the teams’/drivers want to see some action and racing to justify budgets.

Finally, racing in the reverse direction seemed to offer more overtaking spots than the normal way around. I liked it! I hope it returns for 2019…

2018-2018 Knockhill Race 2---2018 UK Knockhill R2, 55 Sean Walkinshaw

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

All images are used courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Series & CMC images where credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

TCR Guru Interview: Pierre Runic

I’ve been very lucky so far this year to speak with TCR Creator Marcello Lotti and several drivers from the TCR UK Touring Car Championship.

What a few of you may not know is that I’m also working with a driver who is looking to get into TCR Competition and working hard on his plans and budget to do so.

 

TCR Europe Circuit Paul Ricard, Castellet 4 - 6 May 2018
The 2018 TCR Europe Series. Credit: WSC / TCR Europe Series

That driver is upcoming Swedish Motorsport talent Pierre Runic. Runic is a former Rotax Max Sportstil Cup Karting Champion who now is looking to take the next step in his career which is the move up to the TCR Series.

I recently had the chance to speak with Pierre to find out more about himself and his plans for making the step into TCR.

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Credit: Robin Kautto for RaceMedia.net.

First of all Pierre, can you tell me a bit more about yourself?

“I’m a dedicated engineer, a beloved son, but a humble yet fearless person who have an ambition in becoming a top international professional race driver. I am highly motivated, doing everything with 110% effort,” explained Runic.

“I can’t be satisfied unless I’m pleased with my performance and that’s why I’ve become the perfectionist I am today. I love motor racing, and there is no other explanation more than I enjoy the feeling when driving on the edge. The adrenalin kick I get out of it means the world to me. The moment I put the helmet on, everything feels right.”

What are your hobbies outside of racing?

“I am very active outside of Motorsport. I love swimming, climbing, workout and tackling obstacle courses in my spare time. Another hobby I enjoy is filming, taking pictures and editing and use it for social media,” said the Swedish driver.

But most importantly, I like to spend time with my family. I’ve grown up in a big family that values time with each other, and I appreciate that a lot.”

Pierre_Runic_Rome_Photographer
Credit: Robin Kautto for RaceMedia.net.

What motivates you personally?

“While I was attending school with dreams of becoming a racing-car driver my father gave me a good lesson to learn,” explained Pierre.

“He said ‘Nothing comes easy in life, if you want to continue racing, then you need to show me that you can improve in school.’ From that day, I’ve been motivated to improve myself in everything I do !”

Can you explain why do you have chosen TCR Series competition for the next stage of your racing career?

”After a successful karting career, I need to take the next step, and the next logical step for me is in TCR Series competition. It’s a very similar concept where you can race hard against drivers around the world on any given weekend in any country with so many series to choose from,” said Runic.

“For up and coming drivers like myself, it’s a great chance to get into Touring Car racing at the Domestic level, before aiming to move on Regional and International level TCR competition. Some of the best tin-top drivers in the world are racing in TCR machinery, and I want to be up there with them.”

Pierre_Audi_Tweet-1
Credit: RaceMedia.net

How did your association with RaceMedia begin?

“Niclas Johansson, The founder of RaceMedia and I have a long history that started at the beginning of my karting career. From time to time he worked with our kart racing team, 4WIN,” said the former Karting Champion.

“When he approached me many years later with this new venture regarding TCR Series Competition, I immediately like what I saw, and I signed up. The concept is a great way for a new driver to get a head start on the TCR-Platform and to reach out to many new potential sponsors.”

Explain the main advantages working with RaceMedia?

“The package I have with RaceMedia includes everything from connecting me with a team, research and validating sponsors to marketing, sales meetings, funding and finally a place on the grid in any of the TCR Series around the world,” explained Runic.

“All this is happening while I am still working as a full-time consulting engineer within the automotive sector.”

Bas Koeten SEAT TCR 2018
Credit: Bas Koeten Racing

How are your plans proceeding for gaining support in 2018?

“Raising funds is always the hard part of securing a drive, and the workload for everyone involved has taken longer than we expected. Especially for a new driver like me who has no previous experience in TCR.”

“However, this is a long-term project for us. Many of the partners we are speaking to are already working towards helping put the 2019 budget in place. It’s possible that we might even get on the grid for 2-3 races during this year. Fingers crossed!”

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Bas Koeten Racing Audi in the 2018 FIA WTCR. Credit: Francois Flamand / DPPI

RaceMedia have signed you up with Bas Koeten Racing for your TCR Series debut. Why do you think this is the best team for you?

“I know that Bas Koeten Racing is one of the best teams for me when I take the step up to touring car racing. They have a lot of experience in TCR Competition and compete in many different locations and series around the world.”

“Once I have the budget in place, I have been offered a shared drive in a couple of races in the 24H endurance series. With their vast experience and range of TCR machinery, I look forward to this opportunity.”

Finally, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

”I see myself driving full time for one of the many TCR teams or even in the recently announced E-TCR series, collecting wins and podium places in one of the most competitive series around the world.”

You can also find this interview at the following link.

Pierre_Runic_Rome_No_Saint
Credit: Robin Kautto for RaceMedia.net.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of the The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!