The APR Volkswagen Racing Cup’s visit to the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit was one to remember for the KPM squad, taking two 1-2 finishes as Martin Depper and Stewart Lines took a win apiece.
Depper won a thrilling ninth round of the championship from fourth by pipping his pole-sitting team-mate Lines to the flag to win the opening race of the weekend, before Lines returned the favour later that Saturday to also claim his first win of the 2013 season.
In the tense opener, Lines was beaten away by fellow front row starter Tom Barley into La Source hairpin for the first time, but the Team HARD man’s Golf GTI was soon dispatched by the Scirocco-R train of Lines, Depper and Aaron Mason by the end of lap two, where they entertained the crowds in Belgium with a superb race-long scrap to the flag.
Lines was at one stage 2.2s clear as Mason and Depper swapped spots in each other’s slipstream, but the three were soon locked together. Contact from Depper on Lines sent the KPM pair wide on the penultimate lap, before they were gifted their lead back when Mason himself made a mistake at the final chicane under braking.
The race between the KPM boys went down to the flag on the final lap, Depper edging his team-mate by a narrow 0.100s for his first win of the 2013 season, saying: “My first win of the year has been a bit of a long time coming. It was a great race with Stewart and Aaron: we were nose to tail and racing fairly all the way through; it was fantastic.”
On his penultimate lap scrape with Lines, he added: “I went through the double left-hander with Stewart right in front of me; I lifted there in practice and spun, so I thought this time I wouldn’t lift – but Stewart did lift, and I gave him a friendly tap up the rear.”
“I led for a long time, but then perhaps I got complacent. Martin and Aaron towed each other up to me and then we started battling; then Martin hit me and we both went off the track. Aaron came through but then made a mistake, so I’m back in the lead going into the final lap. But then Martin got me up the hill after Eau Rouge.”
Lines made amends for the race one defeat in the second encounter of the day however, beating his team-mate in another exciting fight involving the duo as they moved from fifth and sixth to the front, following a spin for leader Mason on lap one. Depper led as Henry Gilbert briefly grabbed second away from Lines, the KPM driver re-taking the spot before catching and passing Depper during the closing stages of the race.
Depper waited until the very last corner of the final lap to make his lunge, but out-braked himself and allowed Lines to sneak through and take his first VW Cup win, leading home a second 1-2 of the day in a super weekend for the KPM squad.
“I was ahead of Martin coming into the final bend and he was right up my exhaust pipe”, said Lines. “I moved over in case he wasn’t going to be able to stop in time, he pulled alongside and then outbraked himself. We had a great race and Henry drove really well – he really put us under pressure.”