A top ten finish proved to be the only reward for Michael Epps from a nightmare weekend in the Miltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup at Silverstone.
In only his third weekend of tin-top racing, Epps looked set for a breakthrough meeting after putting his Team Hard VW Golf Mk VI on pole position by over six tenths of a second in qualifying.
Unfortunately for the former single-seater racer though, a problem with his engine – a new VW unit fitted following a blow up in Friday practice – had seen him breach the championship’s boost pressure guidelines.
This meant Epps was demoted to the back of the grid for the opening race, and a fired up performance saw him show great race craft as he scythed his way through from 29th at the start to 11th at the finish.
A reoccurrence of the problem from qualifying though, that also led to the car cutting out and running in limp mode on occasions, meant that Epps was disqualified from the race and demoted to the back of the grid again for the second encounter.
“It’s absolutely gutting,” said Epps. “We didn’t really know what this engine would be like as it was fresh out of the box from Volkswagen and because of the timings of testing and qualifying this weekend there was no chance to test it.
“For some reason we couldn’t get a consistent boost pressure, it was fluctuating like crazy. It’s annoying because it became an accidental advantage that we didn’t mean to have.”
Before the final race, the team were finally able to find the source of the problem, a hairline crack in one of the turbo solenoid valves. After a rush to the dyno to re-test the car, Epps produced another battling drive to climb up to a tenth place finish.
Despite the frustrating weekend, Epps admits he’s happy to have showcased his racecraft by gaining 37 places over the course of the two races, and indicate his true pace in the second encounter.
“I’m pleased with myself at least,” he added. “I pushed hard and proved what I can do, it’s just a shame the circumstances left us at the back of the grid for both races. Never mind though, I guess we showed our real speed in race two.”