Aaron Mason survived a first-corner collision to win from pole in the first race of 2012 APR Volkswagen Racing Cup.
A dramatic clash involving Mason, James Walker, and several others marred the start of Round 1. It was triggered when Dominic Pettit made a slightly better get away from second on the grid in his Vindis-backed Jetta to overhaul the AWM Golf GTI of Doncaster driver Mason on the run towards Old Hall.
Mason and Pettit made contact, the former then colliding with Walker, sending him clouting in to the barriers in his new KPM Scirocco.
Amazingly Walker bounced off the barriers and back on to the track, pointing more or less in the right direction, and was able to get going again in seventh. But his return to the track triggered a chain reaction which saw the Golf of 16-year-old Nikhil Chopra and the Scirocco of Kieran Griffin collect each other.
Chopra was able to get going again but Griffin’s race ended against the barriers, with the safety car called into play for three laps while the debris was cleared, but not before Mason, undeterred by the bumps and bruises, Mason regained the lead from Pettit.
Mason looked in no danger of losing his advantage after the restart until a fired-up Walker, in his battle-scarred Cooke and Mason-backed Scirocco, appeared in his mirrors on lap five. He chased the leader until two laps from the end, but a slow puncture halted his progress.
Mason finished 10s clear at the flag, and said: “It was a bit of a rough start – I got squeezed a bit by both James and Dominic – but it was OK after that until James came back at me a bit strong.”
Walker added: “I made a fairly decent start and was carrying on in a straight line, and then the next thing I know I am heading towards the barriers. I managed to get going again and just kept pushing until the tyre started to go down. I can’t complain – second is a good result for the opening round.”
Pettit came under heavy pressure in the late stages from his KPM stablemate Wyhinny, the latter making a strong return to racing after 10 months away, but held on to the final podium spot by two tenths of a second.
Last season’s top rookie, Tom Wilson, was an encouraging fifth in his Complete Racing Golf, with Joe Fulbrook sixth with handling woes. 2001 champion Mike Neuhoff, Criag Milner, Andy Wilmot and Richard Morgan completed the top ten.