Photo: PSP Images

Callum Newsham dominates at Brands Hatch for first TCR UK win

Callum Newsham ended round one of the TCR UK season at Brands Hatch on a high with his first win and a new lap record on the circuit’s Indy layout.

Drivers’ second-best lap times from qualifying set the grid for Race 3, and a 0:48:014 from Newsham put the JH Racing driver on pole by 0.162 seconds over Pro Alloys Racing’s Viktor Andersson.

Although he lacked temperature in the tyres of his Hyundai i30 N TCR, Newsham was able to make a strong getaway and hold the inside line going into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time, which helped ensure he did not lose the lead to the Lynk & Co 03 TCR-driving Andersson. However his rival was actually more focused on reigning champion Carl Boardley, who as in the previous races had been even faster off the line and got to the inside of Andersson.

Boardley took second place at Druids, with Joseph Marshall-Birks and Brad Hutchinson tucking in behind while Race 2 winner Adam Shepherd made his way into sixth place having started down in 14th.

Newsham weaved his way to Surtees to warm up his tyres, with many others doing the same. Unable to keep control of his car was Jeffrey Alden, who crashed out.

The safety car was summoned on lap two, and the field was released to race again on lap six. Shepherd tried passing Hutchinson down the inside of Graham Hill Bend but found himself almost getting squeezed off the track, so he bided his time before another attempt and went down the inside of Hutchinson at Clark Curve on lap seven. They ran side-by-side all the way to Paddock Hill Bend the next lap, where Shepherd finally got the move done.

By this point Newsham was already 2.26s clear of Boardley, and he lowered the lap record a few times as he grew his lead even more over the course of the 22-lap race. He had a 8.913s gap by the finish, with Andersson in second after he had passed Boardley down the inside of Clark Curve on lap 10.

At one point Marshall-Birks had been trying to overtake Andersson, but on lap 11 found himself battling with Shepherd. When Shepherd tried going around the outside of him at Druids he left him no room, which then led to Shepherd having to close the door on Hutchinson behind on the Cooper Straight. Contact was made, and Hutchinson reclaimed fifth.

Shepherd did not try another move until lap 20, picking the inside line at Druids and then at Clearways. Plenty of contact was made down the pit straight but Shepherd got back ahead of Hutchinson into Paddock Hill Bend, then both gained a spot at the finish as Marshall-Birks was given a five-second penalty for track limits abuse.

The next TCR UK race will be held at Snetterton on May 18-19.