Photo: PSP Images

Brown wins action-packed TCR UK race after fire for Files

Chameleon Motorsport’s Lewis Brown took his Cupra León Competición to victory for the first time in TCR UK’s second race of the season at Snetterton.

The disqualification of Scott Sumpton from ninth place in Race 1 moved Alistair Camp up to tenth in the race results and put him on reversed-grid pole for Race 2 ahead of Brad Hutchinson, Jenson Brickley and Joseph Marshall-Birks.

The row two starters made the stronger starts but were boxed in by the top two, and Hutchinson took the lead while Marshall-Birks briefly went off track.

Later in the lap reigning champion Chris Smiley crashed out and the safety car was called out as his new Honda Civic Type R FL5 needed to be retrieved.

The order when the race was neutralised was Hutchinson in first place, Josh Files in second after starting ninth, and Marshall-Birks in third after passing Camp late in the lap.

Action resumed on lap three and Files went to attack the leader just as Marhall-Birks went to attack him. Files ended up going on the dust off the track, and Marshall-Birks made a great move at Murrays for second.

It became a three-way fight on lap four with Brown getting involved. Files had a sideways moments and Marshall-Birks finally got a move done that Files wasn’t able to respond to, then he went for Hutchinson at Brundle. He got ahead but then could not slow the car in time for Nelson corner and went off.

That meant Files returned to second, and he then made a great pass around the outside of Coram corner to take the lead.

Brown did not take long to also get past Hutchinson and he had a 1.325-second gap to make up on Files.

On lap seven of 12 the top two set identical lap times to share the fastest lap, and Brown continued to improve his pace. On lap 10 he really closed in, and was just a tenth of a second behind Files when the leader’s engine blew up and then the car set on fire.

It left Brown up front with a lead of over six seconds, and Files seeking marshals who had fire extinguishers to help reduce the damage being done to the Hyundai  Elantra N TCR he had been driving.

Brown got around the final lap and took victory by 5.308s over Alex Ley, with Race 1 winner Bruce Winfield and Bradley Kent coming from tenth and 11th on the grid respectively to finish third and fourth.

Hutchinson lost further places through the race’s second half and ended up down in ninth place, while Marshall-Birks dropped as low as 12th but made his way back up to seventh.

There was drama on the last lap as Jac Constable crashed into Darelle Wilson, although both were able to still take the chequered flag.

Winfield heads the standings on 75 points, Brown is second on 69 and Ley is third with 61 points.

The next TCR UK round takes place at Croft on May 6-7.