A win apiece from Peter Felix and Paul Taylor at Snetterton this weekend helped narrow the gap on Volkswagen Racing Cup championship leader Steve Chaplin. However it could have been a double celebration for 2006 champion for Taylor.
A wet morning had led to slippery track conditions and the drivers having to make difficult tyre choices. With some choosing wets, some slicks and others a combination of both, it was going to be a thrilling and hard fought race in round 9.
It was Didge Dziurzynski on pole with his Mk IV Golf Gti and the Beetle RSI of Chaplin alongside who had opted for slicks on front. This seemed to be the wrong choice at the start as they were both slow getting away. This enabled Taylor, who was running all wets on his 4wd Golf Mk IV, to get a great start and take the lead straight away.
Whilst Taylor was powering away at the front and building a comfortable lead, Chaplin was struggling and dropping down the order. A spin at Sear hadn't helped matters either. Dziurzynski was managing his cars rubber well and holding on to second place with Peter Felix in third, who had moved up from seventh on the grid.
A number of drivers were being caught out by the wet conditions with a few spins but the leaders were looking comfortable. Felix in the 20Ten Racing Mk V Golf GTi was really getting into the groove and was starting to reel in Dziurzynski who by lap four had a four and a half second lead over him. This was down to almost nothing by lap 11 and the prospect of a second place battle was on the cards. This battle soon turned out to be a first place battle as Taylor had been handed a drive through penalty for not observing the track limits at Sear.
On lap twelve, Taylor, who had over a five second advantage took his penalty and Felix struck, taking the lead from Dziurzynski who's tyres were now shot. Taylor emerged from the pit lane in fourth place behind James Walker, now in third with just two laps remaining. These positions were to remain giving the win to Peter Felix. The Volkswagen powered Seat Leon Cupra of Peter Wyhinny had passed both Chaplin and Aaron Mason on the penultimate lap to claim fifth.
Afterwards Didge Dziurzynski said 'There was no way I could live with Peter's pace, but it was an awesome race for me, even though I was on the wrong tyres.'
Peter Felix also commented after the race by saying, 'I saw the penalty being issued so I knew that if I could get past Didge it would be for the lead.'
Despite the track being dry for the second race in the afternoon, there was no less action. Steve Chaplin had got a good start from pole in the 'Herbie' liveried Beetle, but it was Taylor in the 4wd R32 Golf who got a great start again and took the lead by going around the outside at Riches from third on the grid. Behind, a spin from Simon Elliott in the Caddy Racing Van meant avoidance action had to be taken by those behind but there was no major contact.
It was a major incident on lap two which had caused trouble however. Whilst Taylor had opened up a two second lead, others were battling for positions behind. A tangle between Wyhinny's Seat Leon and Dziurzynski's Golf had sent them both into the barrier on the run up to Riches. The resulting debris and damage to the barrier led to the race being red flagged.
The grid formed up again for the restart, minus Dziurzynski and Wyhinny, and again it was Taylor who took the lead ahead of Chaplin. Peter Felix had slotted in to third ahead of James Walker, who thanks to contact before the restart was sporting a lot of tape to hold his bonnet in place.
As Taylor was once again storming ahead, the safety car was deployed on lap two thanks to a three car incident involving Michael McInerney's Jetta, Kieran Griffin's Scirocco and the Golf of Tim Snaylam. The safety car headed in on lap seven and Paul Taylor powered away unchallenged over the remaining three laps. Felix had passed Chaplin and managed to hold him off over the remaining laps with just half a second between them.
Daniel Walker took the flag in fourth whilst brother James suffered a last corner collision as he and Aaron Mason were battling hard for fifth. Both Golf's collided and spun, but Mason recovered well enough to take the fifth spot leaving James Walker languishing in tenth.
After taking his first win of the season, Paul Taylor told the awaiting media, 'There were plenty of incidents out there and I was fairly lucky at the restart as I had clear track ahead of me on the grid with Peter (Wyhinny) not there. I made the jump, got a good lead and then when the safety car came out I backed them all up, got away well and finished the job. It's nice to end the weekend like this, I'm delighted.'