TCR Championship – Rounds 12 & 13

Donington Park was host to the latest rounds in the TCR Championship. With Adam Shepherd claiming his maiden TCR UK win in a dominant display. As well as Jac Constable grabbing his 2nd win of the season after several dramatic post-race decisions.

Qualifying

Driving his Area Motorsport by Shepherd Motors Hyundai i30 N TCR, Adam Shepherd claimed his first pole position of the championship in style. He even managed to set the fastest ever TCR UK lap in terms of average speed. The thirty-minute session saw both Max Hart in his JamSport Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR and Jac Constable in the Power Maxed Racing CUPRA TCRs trading times. Then Chris Smiley joined in the fight in his Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR, claiming second place in the process with Hart third.

Like last time out it was tight at the top, with just one-second separating the first eight cars. True to TCR UK tradition.

Race 1 – Round 12

Once the lights went out, Shepherd managed to hold on to his hard-earned advantage from the fast-starting Hart. It was Chris Smiley just behind in close attendance. However, when Scott Sumpton suffered contact, which causing him to come to a halt on the inside of the Craner Curves, the Safety Car had to emerge towards the end of the first lap.

Racing resumed on the fourth lap with Shepherd leading Hart and Smiley. Ahead of Bruce Winfield in his Area Motorsport CUPRA TCR. Alex Ley in the Daniel James Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR. And also Power Maxed Racing teammates Callum Newsham and Jac Constable.

As Hart and Shepherd battled out-front, Constable passed Newsham for sixth place. Even further down the pack, Bradley Kent was gaining ground after starting from the back of the grid due to an engine change following the previous meeting at Castle Combe, the Essex & Kent Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR driver up to tenth by the half-way mark.

He then closed in on championship leader Isaac Smith in the Race Car Consultants VW Golf GTi TCR, who was eager to improve on his potential points haul. Whilst locked in battle with Lewis Kent in his Essex & Kent Hyundai Veloster N TCR.
Winfield then passed Smiley to take third. Causing significant movement in terms of championship positions, with the Honda driver scheduled to top the table if positions were to remain until the end of the race.

Bad luck struck again for Hart when his challenge for the lead ended, having to pull into the pits with five minutes of the race remaining. Leaving Shepherd to head home relatively unchallenged and score his first ever TCR UK victory.

Winfield finished in second, closely followed by Smiley, Constable and Ley. Lewis Kent managed to hold off Smith to take sixth, followed by Jamie Tonks in his Area Motorsport by FastR CUPRA TCR. Matthew Wilson in his JWB Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR and Andy Wilmot in his JamSport Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR.

Wilmot’s tenth place finish meant two things, one being he had secured the Goodyear Diamond Trophy win for drivers aged 40 and over. The second being he would start in Pole Position for race two. As the top ten places from the first race are reversed to form the grid in the second race.

You can watch the whole of Round 12 – here.

Race 2 – Round 13

For the second race of the day, Wilmot made the most of his preferential position. Holding the lead on the run down to Redgate Corner. In contrast, Wilson made a poor getaway which allowed Smith and Lewis Kent past.

Further back, there was contact as cars bunched up in the first corner. This saw Shepherd and Tonks collide and collect the back end of Smiley’s car in the process, the impact breaking the suspension on the rear of the now championship-leader’s Honda and forcing it into retirement.

The action continued on the track, as Wilson went off at the Craner Curves after contact with Darelle Wilson’s DW Racing Vauxhall Astra TCR, ending its race in the gravel at the Old Hairpin. At the front of the pack, Constable managed to get past Smith and into second place, then going on to chase down Wilmot.

With Smiley side-lined, Smith looked set to re-take the championship lead but dropped down the order after contact with Shepherd and Ley. Hart on the other hand, was in the ascendancy as he made up places from nineteenth on the grid up to seventh! Sadly however, it would be the sixth race in a row in which he had to retire. Joining fellow retirees Lewis Kent, Callum Newsham and Ant Whorton-Eales (JamSport Subaru STi TCR).

It was clear Smith was still experiencing handling issues and was late passed by George Heler, a TCR UK newcomer, in the Paul Sheard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR, closely followed by Tonks.

Whilst at the front it was clear Constable was visibly gaining ground on first place. But it was Wilmot who held onto the lead to take what looked to be his first TCR UK victory. However, shortly after the race his car’s turbo was deemed to have momentarily over-boosted, an issue that saw him disqualified. Consequently, it was Constable who was rewarded with the win. Shepherd claimed second place, with Bradley Kent taking third and a long-awaited podium finish.

Rounding out the field was Winfield finishing in fourth place ahead of newcomer Heler in fifth. Tonks came home in sixth, Smith seventh. Ahead of eighth placed Darron Lewis in the Darron Lewis Racing Audi RS3 LMS who collected the Goodyear Diamond Award on this occasion, with Neil Trotter in the Chameleon Motorsport CUPRA ninth and Alex Ley – who was awarded a five-place penalty for contact during the race – in tenth.

Russell Joyce finished eleventh in the Power Maxed Racing with Joyce Design CUPRA TCR ahead of teammate Chris Wallis (Hyundai i30 N TCR), whilst Mark Smith (CUPRA TCR), Wilson and Steve Gales (Audi RS3 LMS TCR) completed the classified runners.

The Tom Walker Memorial Trophy for drivers who are new to the championship, or hadn’t scored a podium position before this season, went to Adam Shepherd for both races, the race one winner also collected the Sunoco Driver of the Day Award for his efforts.

You can watch all of Round 13 – here.

Next Rounds

All eyes are now on the season finale at Snetterton on October 23rd. With drivers unable to drop points from the final two rounds, there’s a total of 88 points up for grabs. Meaning that there are seven drivers all in with a mathematical chance of winning the title. It’s close!

Chris Smiley and Isaac Smith are tied for the lead with 315 points, ahead of Adam Shepherd with 289, Bruce Winfield on 285, two-time TCR UK Champion Lewis Kent on 255, Alex Ley with 247 and Jac Constable sitting on 237.

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