It seems nothing can stop Huddersfield driver Dan Lloyd in the 2018 TCR UK series as he takes his sixth win in six races in a race full of drama, incidents and retirements.
The partially reversed race 2 has so far provided some great action this year in TCR UK and this race was no exception. Just seven drivers finished and of those only six were on the lead lap. Lloyd started from ninth (which should have been tenth but for the pull-out of the DPE Motorsport Alfas after qualifying) and had a reasonable but not wonderful start. The man who made the best start was actually Ollie Taylor in the Pryo Honda Civic. Taylor immediately made up a full row on the grid but could not do anything with it as he ended up on the outside of both Paddock Hill Bend and Druids hairpin.
Other great starts were made by Josh Price in his Honda Civic moving from third to second by the first turn and the Hyundai of Lewis Kent who went from sixth to third by the first corner. This became second by the Druids hairpin but in his excitement he ran wide allowing Price back through. Through all this though it was polesitter Carl Swift in his Maximum Motorsport CUPRA TCR who lead after the first few corners and through the first few laps. Lap one then ended with Swift leading from Price, Kent, Jessica Backman, the second Maximum CUPRA of Stuart Lines, Taylor and Lloyd.
From there Dan Lloyd started making his way through the pack including a double pass on J.Backman and Price when that pair came together on the entry to Clearways. Lloyd made a move on Carl Swift for the lead with a great dive on the inside of Graham Hill Bend but was repassed by Swift on the exit. Was this the first time someone had passed Lloyd in 2018? Swift held on admirably for half a dozen laps before a slide going through Paddock Hill Bend lost him momentum allowing Lloyd to pass round the outside of the Druids hairpin. Swift left room fairly, probably seeing that a first TCR podium was still a possibility.
From there the race became about who would stay out of trouble and who would be reliable. Price retired with what his team thought was a fuel pump issue meaning the engine was momentarily cutting out and the car became too dangerous to continue. Finlay Crocker retired after a spin going through Surtees reporting that he thought something had broken at the rear leading to massive oversteer. Alex Morgan’s Renault Megane pulled into the pits about half way through finishing what has been quite a forgettable weekend for the TCR Germany regular. Finally Carl Swift’s race came to an end after suffering front wheel damage in an incident with Jessica Backman. Lewis Kent pulled in but came back out after losing a couple of laps in the pit lane.
So it was the drivers who kept themselves out of trouble who benefitted from the goings on of Race 2. Jess Backman made her way to second (including the aforementioned incident with Swift) to become the first female on a TCR UK podium (and possibly any TCR podium – organisers were still investigating that). ‘I’m so happy!’ was her excitable and emotional response when interviewed after the race.
The podium was rounded out by Howard Fuller who pretty much ran on his own taking places from other people’s issues until he came up behind Stuart Lines. After a hard fought few laps Fuller made a move stick on the inside into the Druids hairpin. Clearly emotional after the race, Fuller expressed how the team have been struggling with power due to the boost taken off then by the Balance of Performance equalising since he last drove the car at Round 1 at Silverstone.
Ollie Taylor and Darelle Wilson rounded out the top six in what were quite lonely races for the pair.
After three rounds and six races of the 2018 season it is Dan Lloyd who leads the standings on maximum possible points from Ollie Taylor in second. The Backman siblings (Andreas then Jessica) are third and fourth with Lewis Kent rounding out the top five. Castle Combe comes next in mid-July. Expect some interesting new entries including probable ones from Warren Scott and Sam Tordoff as the TCR UK grid continues to grow.
Feature Image Credit – Gary Jones