EDIT – Since the below article was written, Dan Lloyd has been given a 1-second penalty dropping him to second place and giving Ollie Taylor the victory
Dan Lloyd won the first TCR UK race at Castle Combe after a controversial last gasp move on the Team Pyro Honda of Ollie Taylor.
Taylor started on pole position and got his usual lightning start to lead through the first turns and at the end of the first lap. On the opposite end of the scale Lloyd got a poor start in his West Coast Racing run VW Golf and dropped to fifth off the line. Between them were Andreas Backman and the fast starting pair of Lewis Kent and Finlay Crocker.
It took just two turns before the safety car was beckoned as an incident between Jessica Backman and Finlay Crocker saw both of them in the tyre wall at Quarry. The CUPRA of Stuart Lines was also somehow involved in the incident with the damage caused leading to him heading to pits and retirement next time around.
The safety car stayed out for ten of the race’s thirty minutes. When it finally pulled in we had just seven cars left to go racing. Taylor headed A. Backman from the Hyundai of Lewis Kent, Lloyd, the second CUPRA of Carl Swift and the only DPE Motorsport Alfa of Derek Palmer. Jessica Backman was running a lap down at the back of the field.
For the next few laps the race ran in that order with the cars close together, a brilliant sight around the super quick Castle Combe circuit, the first time a big national touring car series had ran at the circuit in many years. Lloyd’s pace soon became apparent though and, as Kent ran a little wide out of the last corner on lap nine, he needed no second invitation to out drag him over the start/finish line. Lloyd then despatched A. Backman on lap twelve leaving him second and just under three seconds off Taylor’s lead.
Taylor and Lloyd then ran half a second a lap quicker than the rest of the field, Taylor aiming for his first TCR UK victory and Lloyd trying to continue his race winning dominance of the series. Lloyd seemed to have the advantage and finally, with three minutes of the race remaining, found himself on the rear bumper of Taylor’s Honda. Taylor seemed to have it covered though until the controversial move of the race came on the very last lap at Quarry corner. Lloyd saw a gap on the corner he had been super quick on all race and threw the nose down the inside of Taylor. The pair touched sending Taylor sideways and wide. Lloyd was through and took victory by half a second.
Tensions ran high as the cars returned to parc ferme with Taylor getting out of his car and heading straight back to his team truck, helmet still on and obviously angry about the move. The pair had opposing views about the incident with Lloyd claiming it was a typical last lap touring car move and Taylor claiming it was too tough and unfair.
Behind all the mayhem Andreas Backman rounded out the podium in a relatively lonely race with Lewis Kent fourth and Carl Swift’s CUPRA in fifth. Derek Palmer was running sixth but retired with what seemed like another engine issue with around eight minutes of the race remaining.
Race two of the day starts later today at 3.45pm.
Feature Image credit – Gary Jones