Croft in North Yorkshire played host to rounds three and four of the 2023 TCR UK Touring Car Championship where the fans were treated to two thrilling races that saw victories for Jac Constable & Jenson Brickley over the Bank Holiday weekend.
RACE ONE – ROUND THREE – 25 MINUTES
Jac Constable started from pole position in his Rob Boston Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR Gen2, however, it was Carl Boardley in his CBM with Hart GT CUPRA Leon Competición TCR who got the better start and took the lead into Clervaux ahead of Constable, as Chris Smiley moved into third place in the Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR.
Boardley stayed out front as Constable began to pressure him for the lead whilst Smiley held off Callum Newsham in his JH Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR, Bradley Kent in the Essex and Kent Motorsport Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Joe Marshall was next in the second Rob Boston Racing Audi, Jenson Brickley in the Jenson Brickley Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR and then the Area Motorsport trio of Adam Shepherd, Championship leader Bruce Winfield and Alex Ley.
Garry Townsend went wide at Tower early on a upfront, Boardley gapped Constable, however the Honda story came to an early end for 2022 TCR UK Champion Smiley as he pulled off halfway into the race with a technical issue. Team-mate Scott Sumpton also retired from the race in his Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR, pulling over at Tower bend three laps later.
Carl Boardley crossed the finish line in first place on the road, however he was awarded a five second penalty for a track limits violation and this gave Jac Constable his first win of the year and also a landmark first win for Audi in TCR UK, with Boardley classified just under eight tenths of a second behind. Bradley Kent took third place after passing Newsham late in the race to complete the podium places.
Joe Marshall claimed his first top five finish of the season ahead of Adam Shepherd, with sixth place being a good reward for his last minute efforts to get into the event this weekend. Bruce Winfield finished in seventh place ahead of Jenson Brickley, whilst local driver Bradley Hutchison brought his Bond-It with MPHR Audi RS3 LMS TCR Gen1 home in ninth place ahead of Alex Ley in the Area Motorsport with Daniel James Hyundai i30 N TCR.
Dan Kirby moved his Zest Racecar Engineering CUPRA Leon Competición TCR past Oliver Cottam’s Paul Sheard Racing Audi for eleventh place whilst Andy Wilmot came home in thirteenth place in his Area Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR. Matthew Wilson (CUPRA), Townsend (Audi), Darelle Wilson (Vauxhall) and Steve Gales were the final classified finishers with Darron Lewis retiring from the race early on.
RACE TWO – ROUND FOUR – 25 MINUTES
Ley’s perseverance was rewarded with pole position for the end-of-day finale which features a top-10 reversal of the first race’s finishing positions for its starting grid.
But it was Hutchison who led away from the outside of the front row. The local driver’s time in front was short-lived, however, as he ran wide on the second lap, which let Ley and Brickley ahead. By the end of the lap, Shepherd and Winfield had it made it three Area Hyundai’s in the top four as Hutchison began to get shuffled down the order.
While set-up tweaks for Shepherd and Winfield had dialled out more of the understeer they had been suffering, Ley’s had turned into oversteer and he was forced into driving a defensive race. But he couldn’t hold off Brickley, who got a run through Tower and completed the move through the daunting Jim Clark Esses on lap three of eighteen.
Shepherd further demoted Ley at the hairpin, and the front two were then able to start pulling clear as Ley had his work cut out keeping the rest behind him.
Consistently strong pace from Brickley opened a margin over Shepherd, who himself had nearly five seconds in hand on Ley when a safety car was called on lap six. That was required after Dan Kirby’s Zest Race Engineering CUPRA went into the barriers at the complex. In the end, Kirby was able to extract himself so the race went green again before the pack had even formed a queue behind the safety car.
Brickley was alert to the situation and managed to rebuild his advantage over the closing laps. He eventually crossed the line three seconds clear of Shepherd to record his first TCR UK victory in just his fourth start in the championship.
Shepherd was happy to have improved his pace throughout the weekend and finish with a podium, keeping himself in touch in the championship. Behind them, Marshall and Winfield managed to jump Ley and secure third and fourth. It was a maiden podium for Marshall in his first season of front-wheel-drive racing.
Winfield had picked up damage in an earlier brush with Ley which split an oil collector tank, the resulting leak onto the side of his car not helping its grip. But he just managed to hold off Boardley to consolidate his championship lead. Boardley is in fact now Winfield’s closest challenger after scoring his fourth consecutive top-six finish to start the season.
Constable finished sixth. Having been elbowed backwards in a couple of first-lap incidents, he was fired up to mount a strong recovery drive. The Rob Boston Racing driver made a late dive inside both Ley and Kent into the complex, which was only ever going to have one outcome. He made contact with Ley, that then pushed Ley into Kent on the outside line, causing both drivers to retire from the damage made to their cars.
Newsham was seventh with Hutchison benefiting from a track-limits penalty for Smiley to take eighth. The Restart Racing driver had made rapid progress from the back of the grid in the opening exchanges. Oliver Cottam’s Paul Sheard Racing Audi RS3 completed the top 10.