Jac Constable gets first TCR UK win for Audi after Boardley is penalised
Jac Constable delivered Audi a first TCR UK win in Race 1 at Croft, although he actually finished behind Carl Boardley.
The pair maximised their lack of compensation weight to fill the front row of the grid, with Rob Boston Racing’s Constable taking pole. It was Zest Racecar Engineering’s Boardley who led after the opening corner though as they went side-by-side.
On lap three of 18 there was an attack from Constable, who got his Audi RS3 LMS II alongside Boardley’s Cupa Leon Competición but then ran out of space and went off onto the grass. After wrestling his car on the slippery surface, which was wet from overnight rain, he managed to return to track without losing a place but giving Boardley a more comfortable lead.
Initially that lead continued to grow, then Constable brought it back down to under half a second before a lap 11 incident while attacking for the lead meant he dropped five seconds, but again did not lose second place.
Constable had the pace to close in once more, and in the remaining laps brought the lead gap down to 3.9s but could reduce it no further.
However on the final lap there was drama as Boardley was issued a five-second penalty for track limits abuse, and by meeting the chequered flag 4.138s ahead it meant that victory went to Constable by 0.862s.
“I was doing exactly what was said in the [driver] briefing yesterday. I don’t think I’ve even done a lap wrong,” said Boardley afterwards. “But maybe there’s somebody who needs to maybe get some retribution.”
Bradley Kent finished 4.649s behind Constable in third, with Callum Newsham not too far behind him. Fighting with that pair at first was reigning champion Chris Smiley, and got ahead of both before his Honda Civic Type R TCR developed a problem and he had to pull off the track to retire. Kent made his move on Constable for third just before Smiley hit trouble.
Pre-race championship leader Bruce Winfield encountered drama before the race actually began, spinning his Hyundai i30 N TCR on the formation lap and delaying the start by causing a traffic jam as he blocked the track. That delay actually enabled several drivers to change tyres on the grid, although all were already on slicks ready for a damp but drying track surface.
During the race, Winfield initially ran in ninth but made his way up to seventh, while there was race-long squabbling behind him for ninth between Bradley Hutchinson and Alex Ley.
Further behind there was another fight between Dan Kirby and Oliver Cottam, and at the end of the race Andy Wilmot joined in and almost hit Cottam but could not progress from 13th place.
The second race starts at 17:35 local time/18:35 CEST.