Bradley Kent took victory in the final race of the Brands Hatch triple-header. It would be an extended 25 minute event for the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK, their longest race of the season and a chance to showcase the limits of these top of the range Touring Cars. For Kent, the victory is his second of the season, launching him to second in the standings, one point ahead of the driver he spent all race battling with, Max Hart.
While Kent had eventually won the race, it was Bruce Winfield for the third time in as many races, who was the man to watch at the start. Storming from fourth to first by the time the cars filed into Druids, he was determined to prove he could legitimately challenge for race victories, having not finished higher than fourth up to this race.
His confidence on cold tyres was lacking, but after two laps of defending the lead from B. Kent had his rhythm interrupted by a safety car. A stranded VW Cup car would cause a three lap delay, again leaving Winfield with cold tyres.
At the restart, Winfield led a fired up Bradley Kent as Max Hart, having got ahead of Lewis Kent during the opening lap, struggled on the restart. Losing momentum to Bradley Kent, he allowed the #44 to be aggressive on the leading Cupra TCR DSG until the Irish driver had found his groove once again.
As Winfield continued to hold his own out front, Max Hart made the overtake B.Kent, dropping him into the clutches of his brother Lewis Kent in fourth. Bradley was not about to give in though, fighting back as the pair went side by side for half a lap from Clearways to Graham Hill. Despite his attempt to allow brother Lewis to take Hart as well, the Maximum Motorsport driver remained in third.
Daniel Wylie pulled off with 11 minutes of racing to go resulting in the second safety car of the race. There would be further bad news for Team HARD. as Toby Bearne pulled into the pits from fifth after the fire extinguisher went off during the race. It was a disaster for Bearne who this weekend had proven himself to be the driver to watch in the latter stages.
The second restart proved a copy of the first as Hart struggled to keep up, allowing B. Kent to challenge Winfield once again. After almost 15 minutes of non-stop pressure, the Area Motorsport driver finally acquiesced allowing both Kent and Hart past into Paddock Hill. Winfield would fight back, but it would only result in Darron Lewis from making contact, seeing them both off the track at Clearways.
The Mercedes was the fastest car on track during the closing laps, making steady progress in the final tours. Upon returning to the track, the pair again made contact, with Winfield sent spinning backwards into the barrier at Paddock Hill. The red flag was flown to deal with Winfield’s stricken Cupra, a disappointing ending to a star performance from the Civic Cup champion. The incident saw the Mercedes disqualified post race, picking up 4 points on Lewis’ licence.
Bradley Kent took victory on lap countback with Hart second and Lewis Kent completing the podium. For Lewis Kent, he’ll be disappointed to have finished behind his rivals, but still leaves Brands Hatch with a 50 point lead in the standings.
Fourth was Dan Kirby, leaving the weekend just two points behind the battle for second in the standings on 105 points. William Butler would round out the finishers after Alex Kite was forced to retire his Vauxhall Astra TCR in the pits. Unfortunately for Jac Constable, the crash damage from race two was too much for his Power Maxed Car Care Racing team to fix before the start, with Chris Wallis another absent from the grid.
Bradley Kent was in a good mood post-race, saying;
“From the start, it was non-stop action. The safety car made it ten times worse and we all gave respect to each other. It’s horrible to see how Bruce ended up because he drove a fantastic race and even to the team I mentioned, ‘that’s one of the best races I’ve ever had’. I’m sweating, so that’s a good thing.”
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