Nick Beaumont clinched a first APR Volkswagen Cup victory in the opening race at Brands Hatch, beating points leader Aaron Mason in a titanic battle between the two Scirocco drivers.
Starting from pole position, Beaumont made a poor getaway initially as David Sutton took advantage to take the lead of the race, one that was short-lived for the Team HARD driver however as he spun his Golf GTI into the barriers at Sheene Curve and into a disappointing early retirement after such a strong qualifying.
Beaumont had slipped down to fourth place as Phil House assumed the new race lead, heading the similar Sciroccos of Ross Wylie, Mason and Beaumont in hot pursuit.
Wylie then launched his attack for the race lead on lap three but House stood firm in his defence, Wylie’s effort hampered by yellow flags. Wylie’s race then came to an abrupt end completely out of his control when the Slidesports driver suffered brake failure which pitched him off the road at the dauntingly-fast Hawthorns bend, the gravel trap thankfully softening the blow into the barriers.
Championship leader Mason and JWB‘s Beaumont were the main challengers to House now, and Mason wasted no time in attempting to snatch the lead of the race from the double series champion, squeezing inside the PH Motorsport man at Clearways to grab the lead at the end of the drama-filled third lap.
Overheating problems soon started to ruin House’s race as Beaumont made his way by at Surtees on the next lap, setting up a duel for the win between Mason and Beaumont for the remainder of the 12 lap encounter.
Beaumont made his attack on lap seven into Surtees and took away to lead of the race, but Mason wasn’t giving up the chase despite driving a Scirocco carrying 64kg more success ballast than his rival, the pair continuing to duke it out as Mason moved back in front with a bold move at Hawthorns.
Stewart Lines and series newcomer Chris Panayiotou added themselves into the mix as the leadrs held each other up, Beaumont eventually making what would be the winning move on lap 11, once again diving inside at his favourite overtaking spot into Surtees before hanging on the win by 1.2s from Mason.
“I screwed up the start,” said Beaumont afterwards. “Too many revs, the clutch got hot and I lost a lot of places. Then I got back to second and had a great fight with Aaron – we were side-by-side for about three-quarters of a lap, and I knew because it was Aaron that he wasn’t going to take me off. I’m really pleased for the team and delighted to prove what a good car the JWB Scirocco is.”
Lines joined the duo on the podium ahead of Panayiotou in an impressive fourth with the KPM Golf GTI, the top five rounded by Henry Gilbert who beat Martin Depper to that spot.
Seventh was where House dropped to following his problems, AWM drivers Josh Caygill and Joe Fulbrook next up with Kieran Gallagher rounding out the top 10 in his second meeting with Team HARD before he races in the British TOuring Car Championship at Knockhill later this month.