The first TCR UK race of the day at Brands Hatch was won by series leader Dan Lloyd after having to fight his way past the Honda of Ollie Taylor.
For the first time this year Lloyd was lead in a non-reversed TCR UK race after Taylor got a better start from second on the grid to take the lead before the drivers reached Paddock Hill Bend on the first lap. All three West Coast Racing cars (starting first, third and fifth) seemed to struggle launching off the grid from the lower half of the quite steeply cambered grid.
The start had already been postponed due to Stuart Lines stopping on track on the formation lap due to his hydraulic jacks not correctly slipping back up into the car. He eventually got going and had to start the race from the back of the grid. When the lights did eventually go out we had what could be termed a ‘proper’ touring car first lap.
As well as Taylor making his way past Lloyd, Lewis Kent (staring fourth in his Hyundai) leapfrogged Andreas Backman’s West Coast VW Golf to take third at the first turn. As Lloyd looked round the oustside of Taylor at the Druids hairpin, Kent understeered slightly into Lloyd knocking him sideways. The pair touched again coming out of the corner but Lloyd kept position. A.Backman took advantage of the chaos in front to follow Lloyd on the inside line into Graham Hill Bend. Kent didn’t realise he was there and closed the door, the two making contact but somehow both staying on track.
Coming out of Graham Hill, Josh Price in his BMR Academy Honda Civic tried to take advantage of the slow exits of Kent and A.Backman and moved alongside A Backman on the short back straight. The two came together sending A.Backman sideways but somehow not fully spinning round. As drivers behind backed off to avoid the incident Howard Fuller and Finlay Croker touched and it was Fuller who ended up spinning on the exit of Surtees. He rejoined with no apparent damage. So after a frought first lap it was Taylor from the VW of Lloyd. Kent followed in third from Price and Jessica Backman. A.Backman was somehow still in play in sixth.
It took Lloyd just four of the thirty race minutes to make a successful move on Taylor when he made a decisive lunge down the inside of Clearways, the last corner on the short Indy circuit. Taylor kept Lloyd honest for a good few laps before the gap started to increase, reaching out to 2.6 seconds at one point in the race but reducing slightly to 1.8s by the chequered flag enabling Lloyd to keep his 100% win rate in the series so far this year.
‘I was so angry at myself at the start,’ said Lloyd after the race, ‘and I was so close to going round at Druids. Ollie was weak in the last corner so that’s where I was able to make my move’. Taylor seemed a little disappointed at losing his lead but put a positive spin on it saying ‘It’s good to be back on the podium. I love the new car and I feel I can push harder with it’.
Completing the podium was local boy Kent. After some car unreliability in previous rounds meaning finishes of 11th, 11th, DNF and 8th this was a real breakthrough for him and the Essex and Kent Motorsport squad. ‘I can’t thank the team enough’, stressed Kent. The squad was clearly very happy as the car returned to parc ferme.
Josh Price had been running in fourth throughout the race but an ailing car on the very last lap meant he dropped down to ninth. So eventually fourth went the way of J.Backman followed by a recovering Stewart Lines in fifth. From the back of the grid Lines fought through the pack one place at a time and through what was an especially tough battle with A.Backman, suffering from understeer due to his first laps skirmishes, and the Honda of Finlay Croker. Carl Swift ran a mostly lonely race to eighth with Fuller finishing tenth behind Price. Darelle Wilson finished eleventh in his Vauxhall Astra. Alex Morgan retired his Renault Megane after some electrical and overheating issues.
The reversed grid race takes place later today. Could we see another winner in this championship other than Dan Lloyd. Stay with Overtake Motorsport to find out.
Feature Image Credit – Gary Jones