Before the second race of the Oulton Park TCR UK event had even got underway, we sadly lost two cars from the grid. Carl Swift (who had been set to start from pole position for this reverse-grid race) and Robert Gilmour‘s cars sustained very heavy damage in their Race One accident, meaning that they were unable to be repaired in time for Race Two.
So, with just nine cars remaining in contention, Ashley Sutton found himself promoted to pole position as a result of Swift’s absence. As you would expect from the reigning BTCC champion, Sutton controlled the start of the race well and maintained his lead, while Stewart Lines bogged down and dropped back through the order somewhat. By contrast, Jessica Backman was quick out of the blocks, and found herself in third place after the initial getaway. At the tail end of the field, Dan Lloyd made an important move in the context of the championship as he edged ahead of rival Ollie Taylor.
So, Sutton led the way from Lewis Kent in the early stages, however Backman’s presence in the top three was rather short-lived. Half way around the circuit, Derek Palmer Jr made a clean and fair move on the inside line into Hislop’s bend to overtake the Swede. Unfortunately, things got out of hand for Backman as she took to the grass in fear of not being able to make the corner. Once she had rejoined the track, the WestCoast Racing driver had lost a handful of positions and slotted into the queue behind Ollie Taylor.
The other Backman sibling, Andreas, would end up having an even worse time however. With some sort of mechanical issue with his car, Andreas Backman had no choice but to return to the pit lane, dropping off of the lead lap as a result.
After the weekend had initially showed promise for DPE Motorsport, things took a downward turn again in Race One. Gilmour’s big crash and Palmer’s time penalty left yet another sour taste for the team, however Derek Palmer Jr had made it to roughly half distance in this second race and was still lying in third position. A podium result would’ve been the sweetener that the team needed, however luck just simply isn’t on their side this year. As the pack raced through Druids Corner, Palmer got it all wrong and speared off into retirement via the gravel trap.
But, in racing, one driver’s loss is another driver’s gain. With Palmer out of the picture, the opportunity had opened up for Stewart Lines to secure his first podium result in the TCR UK Series. That would be easier said than done though, as the Maximum Motorsport driver had championship contenders Dan Lloyd and Ollie Taylor breathing down his neck. Sadly though, Lines too would feel as though he was dealt a rough blow. Heading down into Cascades Corner, Lloyd made a late attempt at an overtake that in truth was never really on. Lines’ Cupra was sent sideways, and after a brief trip through the gravel, he rejoined rather unceremoniously in sixth place.
This dramatic turn of events played into the hands of one man; Ollie Taylor. As Lloyd was compromised for pace after the contact, Taylor was able to grab the opportunity and charge past his rival on the outside line around Island Bend. In the space of less than a lap, Team Pyro‘s championship contender had moved up from sixth to third place.
Although not quite able to match the pace of Ashley Sutton, Lewis Kent was putting in a stunning performance up ahead in second place. In fact, the youngster looked set for his best result of the championship so far. Unfortunately though, as the race progressed his Hyundai’s tyres began to fade. As such, with ten minutes left on the clock, Taylor and Lloyd had closed up to almost touching distance. A major defensive display was required to hold onto that second position.
And indeed, for more than nine and a half of those ten minutes, Kent held off Taylor in a valiant effort with tyres that were way past their best. But, heading into the very final corner on the last lap, Taylor put the pressure on which caused Kent to take the defensive line. Then, as he went to put the power down on the exit of the turn, the car’s lack of grip resulted in nothing but understeer. This resulted in a drag race to the finish line, and by managing to carry more speed through Lodge Corner, Ollie Taylor was able to steal second place in the dying seconds of the race.
Evidently, Lewis Kent was left disappointed with the state of affairs, however his tremendous display up until that point should not be overlooked. Third place would elevate him into fourth place in the championship standings, above Jessica Backman, and also meant that Dan Lloyd failed to finish on the podium for the first time in his TCR UK Series career.
Of course, this all meant that way out in front, Ashley Sutton cruised home to an emphatic victory. Mirroring the achievements of Dan Lloyd at Silverstone, pole position in qualifying and two race wins secured a clean sweep of the points for Sutton on his TCR UK Series debut.
Full Race Result:
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