Despite starting tenth on the grid, it would be Dan Kirby who took his maiden Goodyear Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK victory in the #4 Power Maxed Car Care Racing Cupra TCR. The result made it five winners from as many races this season and further spices up an already intense title battle, with two of the three points leaders failing to finish.
Lewis Kent finishes the day as the points leader with 111 points, 38 ahead of his nearest rival. This being in spite of Kent’s worst finish of the 2021 season and his worst result since we last visited this venue back in 2019.
It had been a lightning start for second place Bruce Winfield who took the lead after a slow getaway for polesitter Bradley Kent saw him drop to second at the end of the first lap.
High drama at the start of the race saw Lewis Kent and Max Hart continue their season-long battle. Though it would not last for too long as the pair ran side-by-side into Druids, making contact at the start of the second lap. The accident saw Hart slide into the barriers, taking him out of the race as Kent continued, albeit behind the fast-starting Toby Bearne who was now the highest place TCT class runner.
Chris Wallis also spun at Clearways, beaching himself in the gravel ensuring that the safety car was scrambled for the pair of them. Hart’s car though could not be towed as easily as the marshals were expecting, resulting in a red flag in order to clear the Hyundai i30 N TCR.
At the restart it was again Bruce Winfield who took the lead into Paddock Hill as Bradley Kent fell back to third. Winfield set about extending his lead in the Area Motorsport Cupra, but an error at Clearway saw him throwaway his entire lead, dropping to the midfield.
The curse of the leader would continue into the second lap as B. Kent went for the overtake on Toby Bearne only for the Mercedes to experience a tank slapper, hitting Kent, who slid disappointingly into the barrier.
This left Dan Kirby free to take the lead as Bearne and Jac Constable did battle behind. Initially it was Constable who held the early advantage, however this would not last throughout, as Bearne utilised the rear-wheel drive of the Mercedes A-Class to get greater traction out of the corners and secure second place.
A second red flag after Darron Lewis was beached in the gravel at Clearways, minus his bumper, ensured that Kirby would secure the 25 points for a win with Bearne and Constable also recording their best-ever results and maiden podiums.
Lewis Kent, clearly still damaged from his contact with Hart was struggling to make progress up the grid, lingering in eighth and ninth for much of the early part of the race, having dropped back at the start. However, with both his championship rivals out, any points he would collect would be vital, recording the fastest lap on the final tour, gaining two places in the process to finish fourth.
One of the drivers he’d passed in order to get there was Bruce Winfield. The Cupra TCR DSG, remained out of trouble throughout proceedings and despite his mistake on the opening lap costing him a shot at victory, still finished fifth, moving him up to second the Drivers’ Standings. Along with Lewis Kent, Winfield is one of only two drivers to have finished every race in the points.
William Butler would pick up sixth and as a result, reverse grid pole, while Will Powell and Daniel Wylie completed the top eight. For Powell it would mark his first race finish of the year a small victory for the Motus One Racing squad who had experienced so much back luck this season.
Speaking after the race, Dan Kirby said;
“It was just a mad, mad race. Everything has gone wrong this weekend and to come through the pack like that, along with a bit of fortune, to collect my first win, it’s unbelievable! It was chaos today and I even had a bit of contact with Jac [Constable] my teammate, meaning I was driving at a 10 degree angle for much of it, which didn’t help. Like everything in Touring Car racing, you’ve just got to keep your nose clean.”
“Fortunately, we managed to bring it home and the red flag certainly helped me as well. The brakes are great on these cars and especially after the first restart, I knew I had to get away and make the moves early, so that when people slipped up in front of me, I had half a chance.”
The action continues on Sunday 20th June with the second race at 11:45am. 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.