2018 TCR UK Series: Donington Park…

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

The TCR UK Series made its way to Donington Park in Leicestershire for the seventh and final race weekend of the season. The 1.98-mile National Circuit played host to rounds 13 and 14 of the series that began at Silverstone over the Easter weekend and visited Knockhill, Brands Hatch, Castle Combe, Oulton Park and Croft over the past six months.

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Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the action that took place in Qualifying all the way through to Races One and Two on Sunday…

The 2018 TCR UK Series Entry List For Donington Park:

Unsurprisingly, the focus would be on the battle for the Drivers’ championship, with the Team’s title already having been provisionally won by WestCoast Racing.

The Swedish team has enjoyed a string of victories and podium finishes from its trio of drivers Dan Lloyd and Andreas and Jessica Bäckman – the most recent being Andreas’ maiden race victory at Croft last month – while also contesting the 2018 TCR Scandinavia Series using the same three Volkswagen Golf GTIs.

The Drivers’ title fight was now a two-way affair, with Dan Lloyd 31 points ahead of Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor with a possible 91 on offer (11 for pole position and 40 for winning each race).

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Dan has clocked up seven victories compared to Ollie’s string of consistent podium finishes and two race wins, but whichever of the pair clinches the title on Sunday will be a worthy winner of the first-ever TCR UK series.

Behind the leading duo, Andreas Bäckman still has a mathematical chance of finishing the season as runner-up, while his sister Jessica is just six points ahead of Lewis Kent in the battle for fourth place.

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All three were keen to end the season on a high note, as were Sean Walkinshaw (Sean Walkinshaw Racing), Finlay Crocker (Verizon Connect Racing), Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) and Darelle Wilson (DW Racing) with the latter pair still looking for their first podium finishes of the year.

Returning to the championship for the final race weekend were Carl Swift and Josh Price. Both Carl and Josh had finished on the podium last year. The Renault Megane’s were withdrawn due to suspension issues before the event.

Dan Lloyd heads up crucial WestCoast Racing 1-2-3

WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd claimed a fourth pole position in the 2018 TCR UK Championship at Donington Park, heading up a 1-2-3 for the Swedish Squad.

Crucially, with Lloyd’s title rival Ollie Taylor (Pyro Motorsport) only fourth behind siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman, a 6-point swing in the opening race in the East Midlands will prove enough to see him crowned the series’ inaugural Champion.

A best time of 1:10.358s around the 1.97 mile National circuit in the Volkswagen Golf GTI proved enough for Lloyd, with Andreas unable to get closer than 0.3 seconds adrift of his teammate.

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Maximum Motorsport’s Stewart Lines continued a strong showing in the CUPRA TCR in fifth after a late improvement, and he shared the third row with Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra.

Lines’ teammate Carl Swift lines up behind the pair, although he was unable to topple the second Pyro-run Honda Civic Type R FK7 of Finlay Crocker for seventh. Swift also started the final race of the campaign from reverse-grid pole courtesy of setting the best second-fastest lap time.

Essex & Kent Motorsport looked to end the year on a high after a weekend-best result of ninth for Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR, with the returning Josh Price (JP Racing) and Sean Walkinshaw (SWR) – both in Honda Civic FK2s – rounding out the field.

Dan Lloyd crowned inaugural TCR UK Champion in Race One

Daniel Lloyd claimed an eighth victory of the 2018 TCR UK Championship season amid treacherously wet conditions at Donington Park, and in doing so the WestCoast Racing driver was crowned the series’ inaugural Champion.

Lloyd made a textbook start in the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and eased into the lead, taking full advantage of a prolonged scuffle between teammate Andreas Bäckman and JP Racing’s Josh Price (Honda Civic Type R FK2) to edge 16.782 seconds clear at the chequered flag.

The former TCR International Series podium winner held an insurmountable 50 point advantage in the standings, with a maximum of just 40 available in the season finale.

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Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor started the penultimate round of the campaign as the only man mathematically able to deny Lloyd the crown, but his charge unravelled as, despite passing Jessica Bäckman’s VW for third off the start, he slid wide in the slippery conditions at Redgate and rejoined down the order after skimming through the gravel.

His fightback began at the expense of Bäckman once again, and then Stewart Lines’ CUPRA, but ultimately couldn’t overhaul teammate Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 or Andreas to get a clear run at his championship rival.

His cause was aided, however, with an unfortunate retirement for Price after he slowed on the Wheatcroft Straight with five minutes remaining.

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Crocker completed the podium in third and took home silverware for the second successive meeting, with Taylor fourth and Lines edging out Jessica Bäckman for fifth and sixth respectively.

The latter’s duel with Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) for fourth overall would go down to the wire, with the Hyundai i30 N TCR finishing eighth behind the second Maximum Motorsport-run CUPRA of Carl Swift.

SWR’s Sean Walkinshaw rounded out the field as the sole-surviving Honda Civic Type R FK2, with Price a retiree and Darelle Wilson unable to take the start after the Vauxhall Astra encountered a problem on the green flag lap.

Josh Price takes maiden TCR UK victory in the season finale

JP Racing’s Josh Price took a controlled victory in the 2018 TCR UK Championship finale at Donington Park, with a sweeping move around Redgate and then a blistering pace that was enough to earn him an 18.417-second advantage at the chequered flag.

Stewart Lines ended his campaign on a high after an impressive fightback – coupled with a sublime defensive performance – to score a season-best second place for Maximum Motorsport, and the best result for a CUPRA on domestic shores.

Newly-crowned TCR UK Champion Dan Lloyd showed his class after recovering from the rear of the field – and one or two setbacks – to complete the podium in the WestCoast Racing-run Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.

It was Price who made the best start, out-dragging Carl Swift’s CUPRA to the first corner and boldly seizing the lead on the outside of Redgate, before easing clear as a thrilling seven-car scrap for the runner-up spot behind played out.

Initially Swift held on ahead of Lines before the latter lost out to Andreas Bäckman through the Goddard Chicane – and then paid him back in kind on the exit of the Old Hairpin as the Swede attempted to relieve Swift of second.

That scuffle allowed Lloyd – recovering after earlier contact at McLeans with Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR – on their tail, after moves on first Finlay Crocker (Pyro Motorsport), and then Jessica Bäckman down the Craner Curves.

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As Swift faded, Lines moved to the head of the group and Bäckman was bested by Lloyd on the outside of Redgate, before the duo played out a tense final two laps eventually decided in Lines’ favour. The Bäckmans finished fourth and fifth respectively – Andreas ahead of Jessica – with Vice-Champion Ollie Taylor’s Pyro-run Honda Civic Type-R FK7 classified sixth.

Finlay Crocker was next in seventh despite contact between the pair at Coppice, with Swift eventually finishing eighth. Kent’s Hyundai and the SWR-run Honda Civic Type R FK2 of Sean Walkinshaw round out the finishers. Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra was, unfortunately, an absentee after his earlier driveshaft problem kept him out of the final contest.

With the first season of the TCR UK Touring Car Championship complete, there have already been two entries confirmed for the 2019 season with more to come.

Having enjoyed last year immensely and getting to see TCR machinery race in the UK in a dedicated series, I’m looking forward to attending the full season in 2019.

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.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of BRSCC / TCR UK Touring Car Championship

Until next time, all the best!