The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit played host to Rounds Five and Six of the Volkswagen Racing Cup with FUCHS Lubricants and produced two entertaining races, with Kieran Griffin winning the first for his maiden series win and Aaron Mason taking the second to emerge from the weekend as the new championship leader.
A superb start at the beginning of Round Five saw Griffin leap from fourth on the grid into the lead by the exit of Paddock Hill in his Addison Lee-backed Scirocco R. Pole sitter Steve Chaplin slotted into third place in his Beetle RSI, with the Golf GTI of James Walker also finding its way past.
Teenager Zoe Wenham held fourth place in her Golf, just ahead of Richard Walker and Peter Wyhinny in his Seat Cupra R. Losing out on the opening lap was Mason, who had qualified second but dropped to ninth on the opening lap. He mounted a superb comeback though and was up to fourth by the end of lap four, with Wenham slipping out of contention after a lap two pit stop.
A change for second took place on lap five, with Chaplin passing James Walker at Surtees, before chasing down Griffin ahead. He went for a move on lap eleven at Druids, but was thwarted by a yellow flag caused by the stranded Golf of Mark Howard.
This allowed Griffin, brother of BTCC racer Liam, to take the win from Chaplin, with Mason finishing third. James Walker took fourth just ahead of Joe Fulbrook in his Bora, with Richard Walker sixth ahead of Steve Wood, Wyhinny, Thomas Wilson and Dutch racer Peter Lettinga. Sadly the debut of the new Mk VI Golf GTI was cut short with driver Nick Beaumont retiring after a melee at Paddock Hill on lap one.
Griffin, whose win was his first in three season in the series, said: “It was a great race, and a great feeling to have secured my first win in the championship. The start was key, after that it was a matter of keeping it steady and balanced. I'm sure there is still a lot more to come from the car.”
With the top six reversed for race two's grid, Richard Walker started on pole alongside Mason. Walker just held on to the lead in the wet conditions ahead of Mason and a fast starting, who gained three places on the start, but the lead was short lived as he retired soon after. This gave Mason the lead from Wood and James Walker, while behind a furious battle emerged for fourth, led by Wenham who had worked her way up from fifteenth on the grid.
Wenham was to drop back as the dry line developed though, leaving Griffin holding off Wyhinny, Fulbrook and Chaplin. Griffins race ended in the gravel on lap eight, with Chaplin now up to third ahead of Wood. The man on the move was Fulbrook though, his slick tyres coming into their own as the race reached its conclusion, letting him lap over two seconds a lap quicker than anyone, allowing him to wrestle into third place.
Ahead, Mason was getting caught by James Walker, but held on for the win, with Fulbrook third, setting the races fastest lap comfortably Chaplin took fourth from Wyhinny, Wood, Lettinga, Wenham and Howard, with Simon Elliot completing the top ten in his New Caddy Racer.
Mason commented: “My tyres were suffering towards the end and really didn't think I could hold on, but obviously James was in a worse situation than I was. One lap longer, it might have been different.”
Mason holds a 12 point championship advantage heading to the next rounds in Zandvoort, Holland, with Wood second and Chaplin third. In addition to title backer FUCHS Lubricants, the Volkswagen Racing Cup is supported by Hankook Tyres, Paragon, Milltek Sport, Superchips, Ceva Logistics and ECM Vehicle Delivery.