Photo: PSP Images

Bruce Winfield starts TCR UK season with emotional Snetterton win

Area Motorsport’s Bruce Winfield won the opening race of the TCR UK season on Snetterton’s 300 layout from third on the grid.

His team-mate Josh Files started from pole after pacesetter Bradley Kent was excluded from qualifying, but made a slow start and immediately dropped behind Winfield and Adam Shepherd.

Winfield then kept his Hyundai i30 N TCR at the front of the field for the rest of the race, soaking up the pressure from the drivers behind.

Shepherd ran in second until lap five of 13 when he suffered a technical issue in the sister i30 N and had to pit, moving Files back up to second after he had come out on top in a battle with reigning champion Chris Smiley.

Files set fastest lap to slash the gap to the front from 1.7 to 0.9 seconds, then halved that gap again. But once he was on Winfield’s tail he then did not have the advantage on traction to make a simple pass, and also did not want to risk a lunging move given they were on for a team one-two.

They eventually finished 0.469s apart, with Winfield taking an emotional first win after losing his father earlier this year.

Lewis Brown and Smiley disputed third place, with the latter getting back past into the podium position after Brown had a moment where he got loose and had to regain control of his car on lap 10.

Alex Ley finished fifth, and Carl Broadley came from outside the top ten to finish sixth.

A lot of attention was on the drivers who started even further back, with Jac Constable – who missed qualifying – rising from 23rd to 15th on lap one and then progressing to ninth place by lap 11 before he suffered a problem that meant he had to stop his car on the grass next to the track.

The only driver who started behind him was Kent, who as well as being excluded from qualifying was given a 10s starting penalty. He chose to take it from the pitlane, and so he spent the early laps in last place and far behind the rest of the field.

But Kent did make progress, and by the end of the race was up to 12th place and just 0.544s off tenth place. That position went to Brad Hutchinson, who therefore starts from the reversed-grid pole for Race 2.

Joining Constable in retirement were Callum Newsham, who was running in sixth before also stopping on track, the battered Darelle Wilson who had to pit twice for repairs from contact before calling an end to his race, Oliver Cottam and Rick Kerry.

Race 2 starts at 17:20 local time (BST).