Photo: PSP Images

Chris Smiley wins TCR UK opener at Oulton in style

Chris Smiley took a lights-to-flag victory in the TCR UK season opener at Oulton Park, leading Max Hart and Isaac Smith home to the flag.

The Restart Racing driver made a strong start behind the wheel of his Honda Civic Type R TCR and headed Volkswagen driver Smith into Turn 1.

With ten minutes left of the race, JamSport Racing driver Hart had caught Race Car Consultants’ Smith in the fight for second place.

And at the start of lap nine, Hart made the move on Smith into Turn 1 for second place.

Andrew Wilmot retired in spectacular fashion five laps from the end of the race after hitting a tyre stack at the exit of the Knickerbrook chicane, breaking the front-right suspension of his Hyundai i30 N TCR.

There was a tough three-car fight for eighth place between Anthony Whorton-Eales (Subaru), Adam Shepherd (Hyundai) and Jessica Hawkins (Cupra).

Whorton-Eales was struggling for pace and Shepherd made a brave move on the outside for two corners to claim eighth, with Hawkins barging her way past the Subaru driver a couple of corners later to claim ninth.

Whorton-Eales later retired from the race due to a technical issue while Shepherd dropped to 12th.

Hawkings remained in ninth ahead of team-mate Jamie Tonks who secured the reversed grid pole for Race 2 by finishing tenth.

The fight for fourth position between Cupra driver Bruce Winfield and Hyundai Veloster N TCR driver Lewis Kent culminated two laps from the end.

Kent made a mistake at the exit of Cascades, allowing Winfield to get past heading into Ireland Bend.

Smiley won the race by 1.5 seconds ahead of Hart, with Smith rounding off the top three, close to five seconds behind.

Winfield was fourth, Kent fifth and Jac Constable made a strong charge up to sixth from eleventh on the grid for Power Maxed Racing.

PMR team-mate Callum Newsham was seventh ahead of Depper, Hawkins and Tonks.

The second race of the weekend starts at 14:45 local time/15:45 CEST.