Adam Shepherd, Brad Hutchison take Donington victories
Adam Shepherd and Brad Hutchison shared the wins as the TCR UK championship headed for Donington Park for the penultimate weekend of the season.
Race one kicked off with Jenson Brickley starting from pole position in the Cupra and he was able to hold off Shepherd through turn one before the pair went side-by-side down the Craner Curves.
Getting a better run through the Old Hairpin, Shepherd moved ahead on the run up to McLeans – edging ahead just before the safety car was deployed to allow the Vauxhall of Darelle Wilson to be recovered from the gravel.
Believing Shepherd to have overtaken under safety car conditions, Brickley reclaimed the lead before the field lined up behind the safety car, whilst there was contact further back in the pack as Joe Marshall, Bradley Kent and Jac Constable clashed as the field slowed – with Marshall forced into the pits.
On the restart, Brickley scampered away at the front ahead of Shepherd and Constable, but Kent’s hopes of a strong result from fourth would be ended going into Redgate as he was hit by Bruce Winfield’s Hyundai and picked up damage that would put him into retirement.
Brickley would charge clear as the race wore on to extend his advantage at the front to more than ten seconds over Shepherd, but having taken the chequered flag first, Brickley would be hit with a penalty for overtaking under the safety car on the first lap – with stewards deeming that Shepherd had got ahead before reaching the first board and Brickley has therefore been wrong to reclaim the position.
It handed victory to Shepherd, with Constable’s Audi taking third sport having held off the challenge of points leader Carl Boardley.
Boardley had charged through the pack in fine style, clearing Winfield with ease after the restart to move into the top six before battling his way ahead of the Honda of Chris Smiley at turn one – with the defending champion unable to keep his former BTCC rival at bay.
Callum Newsham was next in his sights and Boardley would quickly despatch with the Hyundai to grab fourth, with Newsham dropping down the order in the closing laps as he was forced to battle with a misfire.
It allowed Area Motorsport partners Winfield and Alex Ley to come through to fifth and sixth, with Smiley taking eighth and Hutchison scoring eighth on his debut in his new Cupra.
Alistair Camp – who had started from the back alongside Hutchison – would come through to ninth with the top ten completed by Scott Sumpton in the older Honda; giving him pole for race two.
That second race kicked off with drizzle falling and a damp circuit, with Sumpton leading on the run down to turn one only to come under attack from a fast-starting Hutchison, who slipped ahead on the run down to the Craner Curves.
Making the most of the clear track, Hutchison would edge away from Smiley to secure victory despite having never driven the car in the wet before, with the pair split by just over five seconds at the finish.
Sumpton held third in the early stages of the race but lost his place on the podium to Camp on lap five and would gradually slip down the order, with race one winner Shepherd coming through to fourth ahead of Ley and a recovering Marshall – who charged from 21st on the grid to take an impressive sixth.
Sumpton would follow behind in seventh, with Newsham, Constable and Winfield rounding out the top ten.
Struggling for pace in his Cupra, Boardley finished back in twelfth spot but retains the championship lead ahead of the Brands Hatch season finale next month.