Home hero Lewis Kent becomes the first repeat winner of the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK as he led race one winner Dan Kirby home for a comfortable victory in the reverse grid race at Brands Hatch. Interrupted by red flags, the Essex & Kent Motorsport driver had his work cut out to maintain an advantage as Kirby and Bruce Winfield battled for the podium places in the first half of the race.
Winfield had taken the lead as the lights went out, with four-wide behind the Area Motorsport driver into Paddock Hill bend. Four into one did not mix and Jac Constable got loose on the drop down the hill, sliding into the innocent William Butler who was spun across the middle of the track.
Amazingly the field avoided it, however, Darron Lewis was not as lucky, crashing into the barriers at Druids and bringing out the Red Flag.
Unfortunately for Constable and polesitter Butler, they would not make the restart as Lewis drove his Mercedes back to the garages for a pit lane start, giving him a second bite at the cherry. Winfield would lead the grid away, holding off the charge of Lewis Kent as the fast-starting Dan Kirby joined the leading duo.
The three drivers quickly gapped the chasing pack, with Winfield putting on another defensive masterclass that he’d been perfecting during the Castle Combe weekend. Kent was patient, and bided his time, fully understanding that his rivals were still working his way through the pack. Getting the run through Clearways, the Hyundai i30 N TCR dived up the inside into Paddock Hill bend. Winfield fought back at Druids, but Kent maintained the inside line for Graham Hill, quickly extending his lead.
Behind the leaders, Bradley Kent and Max Hart were working their way through the field, eventually making it past Alex Kite who had put up a robust defence in his Vauxhall Astra for fifth.
Across the line Kent took victory by 4.4 seconds to Kirby as Toby Bearne rounded out the podium places. The Team HARD. driver had remained out of trouble during the opening exchanges and in the latter half of the race had preserved his Goodyear tyres to catch Kirby and Winfield. While he ran out of laps to pass Kirby, he was rewarded with his second podium of the weekend as Winfield settled for fourth.
Bradley Kent would recover to fifth ahead of Max Hart, happy to collect points after the disaster of the opening race. Kite would classify seventh after a five second penalty was added as Daniel Wylie completed the finishers.
Speaking after the race, winner Lewis Kent said;
“I’m clearly the home track favourite here. Bruce [Winfield] put up a hard fight, I had a couple of hard laps behind where I did start to get worried, though I did eventually see a gap and went for it, holding the car from sliding sideways all the way down the hill. It was brilliant racing, and I can’t thank all the boys enough. Hopefully with a 1-2 start for race three, we can do the same.”
The action continues with the third race at Sunday 20th June with the second race at 14:20am. All of the action, together with driver interviews and exclusive behind the scenes insights, will be live streamed on the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy and TCR UK Facebook pages and YouTube channel.