TCR UK – Rounds 12 & 13
Donington Park – 29th August 2022
Wins for Adam Shepherd and Jac Constable in drama-filled Donington Park double header
This year’s 15-round TCR UK season lived up to its well-deserved reputation of generating thrilling and fiercely-fought action, when the championship for global-specification touring cars paid its second visit to Donington Park this year, this time for two races around the national configuration circuit on August Bank Holiday Monday.
In round 12, Adam Shepherd finally grasped the victory that has alluded him so far, setting-aside his bad luck last time out at Castle Combe to take a lights-to-flag victory in the first of the day’s two races. Then, later that afternoon in round 13, Jac Constable was awarded his second win of the season following a dramatic race and even more dramatic post-race changes in the results after penalties had been applied.
Driving his Area Motorsport by Shepherd Motors Hyundai i30 N TCR, Adam Shepherd claimed his first championship pole position in style, when he 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, before 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.
Once again, in true TCR UK qualifying tradition, it was tight at the top with just one-second separating the first eight cars.
Race 1 – Round 12
When the lights went out, Shepherd managed to hold on to his front-of-house advantage from the fast-starting Hart, with Chris Smiley in close attendance. However, when Scott Sumpton suffered the outcome of contact at Hollywood, coming to a halt on the inside of the Craner Curves, the Safety Car emerged at the end of the first lap.
Racing resumed on lap four 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 Power Maxed Racing teammates Callum Newsham and Jac Constable.
As Hart hotly pursued Shepherd out-front, Constable passed Newsham for sixth place. Further down the field, Bradley Kent was on a charge having had to start 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 half distance.
He then closed up 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 – another significant move 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 chances of challenging for the lead ended, pulling into the pits with five minutes of the race remaining, leaving Shepherd to head the field home and score his first ever TCR UK victory.
Winfield finished second, closely pursued by Smiley, Constable and Ley. Lewis Kent held 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 not only secured him the Goodyear Diamond Trophy win for drivers aged 40 and over but meant he would start in Pole Position for race two in light of the top ten places from the first race being reversed to form the top ten places on the grid in the second.
Race 2 – Round 13
Wilmot made the most of his preferential location and held 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 seeing Shepherd and Tonks come together and collect the rear 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 on-track action continued, as Wilson went off at the Craner Curves after contact with Darelle Wilson’s DW Racing Vauxhall Astra TCR that ended its race in the gravel at the Old Hairpin. At the front of the field, Constable managed to get past Smith into second place and set off to chase down Wilmot.
With Smiley side-lined, Smith was set to re-take the championship lead but dropped down the order after contact with Shepherd and Ley. Hart however, was in the ascendancy as he made up places from nineteenth on the grid, getting as far as seventh position before retiring for the sixth time in a row. He joined fellow retirees Lewis Kent, Callum Newsham and Ant Whorton-Eales (JamSport Subaru STi TCR).
It was clear Smith was still experiencing handling issues and later in the race was passed by TCR UK newcomer George Heler in the Paul Sheard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR, closely followed by Tonks.
Back at the front, whilst Constable was visibly catching, Wilmot held onto the lead to take what looked to be his first ever 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 and consequently, Constable was rewarded with the win. Shepherd claimed second place, with Bradley Kent taking third and a long-awaited podium finish.
Winfield finished in fourth place ahead of Heler in fifth and Tonks in sixth. Smith was classified seventh, ahead of 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 was 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 collecting the Sunoco Driver of the Day Award for his efforts.
*Results are provisional subject to the outcome of National Court hearings.
All eyes now turn to the season finale at Snetterton on October 23rd. With the two dropped scores now taken into account and drivers unable to drop points from the final two rounds and a total of 88 points up for grabs, there are seven drivers in with a mathematical chance of winning the title – and it’s close…
Chris Smiley and Isaac Smith are tied for the lead with 315 points, ahead of Adam Shepherd with 289, Bruce Winfield 285, two-times TCR UK Champion Lewis Kent 255, Alex Ley 247 and Jac Constable 237.
TCR UK is supported by Goodyear, Maximum Networks, Liqui Moly, Corbeau, MaxiCloud Hosted Telephony, Co-ordSport, Berkshire Turbo, Joyce Design, Shepherd Compello Motorsport Insurance, Woya SEO and Sunoco. The Championship is administered by Club Time Attack.