TCR UK – Round 4
Donington Park – 29th May 2022
Max Hart posted another perfect performance in the second race of the day at Donington Park, claiming victory number two in round four. He crossed the line nearly four seconds ahead of round-one winner Chris Smiley and 2021 runner-up Bruce Winfield, in a race that was action packed from the start.
The second race of the day didn’t start well for Bradley Kent. In fact, for the Essex and Kent driver it didn’t start at all when his car came to a halt on the out lap on the way to the grid. For his teammate Sumpton, his first ever pole position start was a far more memorable occasion.
As cars exited the first corner, it was Whorton-Eales who led the pack, followed by Hutchinson, Wilson and Lewis Kent, who claimed third place at the Old Hairpin – all four getting past Sumpton in the opening stages. Notably, the drivers making the most impressive progress on the opening lap were were Hart, who had climbed from 10th to fourth, Smiley from 14th to seventh and Winfield from 18th to ninth.
With the top half of the 24-car field running so close together it was perhaps inevitable that something would give and as the peloton reached the Esses on the second lap, Smith and Wilson spun onto the gravel in two unrelated incidents. Whilst Smith continued, Wilson did not, his beached CUPRA signalling the appearance the Safety Car for the next two laps.
A clean getaway by Whorton-Eales when racing resumed saw him lead the pack away, but behind him the action continued from where it left off. With little more than a second separating the next eight cars, Hart made his move on Hutchinson – who’s front-right wing was showing the scars of battle – on the entry to Redgate. The Irishman then did the same to Whorton-Eales a lap later, grasping the lead at the start of lap six.
Kent was next to attack Hutchinson and Whorton-Eales, but contact as he did so launched him onto the gravel, first on the outside of McLeans then again at Coppice, the Essex & Kent driver doing well to keep his Hyundai Veloster pointing in the right direction. Unfortunately for Whorton-Eales the damage sustained meant his race would end in the pits half-a-lap later.
All this activity played into the hands of Smiley, who did not need asking twice to claim second place, whilst another battle for third began to emerge behind him between Hutchinson, Winfield, Constable, Tonks and Ley. Hart was also a beneficiary, as he was once again able to increase his lead, this time ahead of Smiley, who was also pulling away from the chasing pack now headed by Winfield.
But neither of them could catch Hart, who went on to claim his second victory and second fastest lap of the day. Behind the leading trio, it was Tonks who won the battle for fourth, ahead of Hutchinson and Constable, followed by Smith and Kent who had recovered from their previous excursions.
Behind them, Andy Wilmot was delighted to record a top-ten finish in ninth and in doing so, claim the Goodyear Diamond Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over. Having started from the back of the grid due to her DNF in the first race, an impressive performance by Hawkins netted the round two winner with a hard-earned 10th place.
The Tom Walker Memorial Trophy for drivers contesting their first season in the championship was awarded to Chris Smiley.
Teams now prepare themselves for the next encounter, which sees rounds five, six and seven take place at Brands Hatch on 18th & 19th June.