Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Adam Shepherd takes stunning TCR UK win in Race 2 at Brands Hatch

Area Motorsport’s Adam Shepherd won the second TCR UK race on Brands Hatch’s Indy layout thanks to a stunning opening lap rise from eighth place.

Shepherd started on row four of the reversed grid but was already in the lead by the exit of the opening corner thanks to a stunning getaway. Having encountered a technical issue with his Cupra Leon Competic√≥n’s revs on the formation lap, Shepherd had opted to go without launch control for the actual start and it proved incredibly effective.

“Changed it drastically from Race 1,” he said of his car. “There’s not a thing on it that’s the same and it’s unbellievable.”

By the end of lap one he was already 2.24 seconds clear of team-mate Luke Sargeant, who took second place after Rick Kerry spun off at Graham Hill Bend and fellow front row stater Will Beech dropped down the order when the lights went out.

The gap at the front grew to 3.4s on lap two, and peaked at 4.97s on lap five as Shepherd broke TCR UK’s lap record. Over the remaining 20 laps he was chased down, with his rivals gaining from the trouble he faced lapping some cars, but his lead was never under threat as he took his third career win.

Sargeant meanwhile was almost immediately looking in his mirrors once he got into second. Callum Newsham tried passing him at Paddock Hill Bend on lap two, but Sargeant stayed ahead despite getting very sideways exiting the corner.

On lap three he again got loose there, and this time Newsham was able to squeeze inside of Shepherd at Druids. Although he initially had no answer to Shepherd’s pace, in the race’s second half he brought the gap down to 2.1s. However the leader then responded, and was 2.8s ahead when the chequered flag waved after 25 laps of racing.

Will Powell initially held fourth, but on lap four was passed by reigning champion Carl Boardley and Joseph Marshall-Birks, and then by Viktor Andersson at Clark Curve on lap five.

Marshall-Birks won a side-by-side duel with Boardley at Druids on lap six, and quickly homed in on Sargeant who he went down the inside of at Clark Curve a lap later. It looked like he had the pace to rival Shepherd, but was already eight seconds behind. Although he lowered the lap record several times, Marshall-Birks could not rise further up the order and finished 8.069s behind in third.

Race 1 winner Andersson dived down the inside of Boardley at Clearways on lap nine for fifth, and overtook Sargeant at Surtees on lap 12 to finish fourth.

Sargeant eventually dropped to seventh, losing out to Boardley (who held on to fifth despite a five-second penalty for track limits abuse) and Brad Hutchinson on lap 17.

Bradley Thurston failed to get going on the formation lap but after some outside assistance was able to take the actual start. He then received a drive-through penalty on lap three, at which point he retired.

Race 3 starts at 16:50 local time (17:50 CEST).