TCR UK – Rounds 3 & 4
Donington Park – 28th – 29th May 2022
Chris Smiley recorded his second consecutive pole position of the season in the Restart Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR, the round one winner posting his best time towards the end of the session. A miniscule 0.021 seconds behind, Hugo Cook put the frustrations of his Oulton Park weekend aside to claim a close second in his Audi RS3 LMS TCR, whilst just 0.264 further back was Adam Shepherd, who placed his JamSport Racing Hyundai i30N TCR in third place for the start of tomorrow’s round three.
Today’s qualifying for TCR UK rounds three and four at Donington Park proved without doubt the competitiveness of this year’s Championship, when less than one-second separated the top 11 drivers at the end of the 30-minute session.
Driving his JamSport Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR, Max Hart set time of 1:36.963 early in the session, slightly ahead of Bradley Kent in his Essex and Kent Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR with a 1:36.967.
Lewis Kent was next to go fastest, when he put his Essex and Kent Motorsport Hyundai Veloster TCR on top with a 1.35.463, as the Audi’s of Cook and Bradley Hutchinson set times inside the top five with a 1.36.096 and 1.36.589 respectively, the latter showing his Bond-IT with MPHR example was also on the pace.
The session was halted with sixteen minutes left to run, when Jack Depper beached his Capture Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR in the gravel at the Esses, the clock still ticking as his car was removed. Competition resumed with ten minutes remaining, seeing drivers scramble to get their tyres up to temperature in order to post a perfect lap before the chequered flag.
Smiley struck first, with his time of 1:35.067 good enough to put him in pole position. Cook was next, his time rewarding him with a first ever TCR front row start. JamSport Racing teammates Adam Shepherd and Max Hart will line-up in third and fourth places, ahead of Isaac Smith in his Race Car Consultants Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR in fifth and Lewis Kent in sixth.
Bradley Hutchinson will start from seventh place ahead of Jamie Tonks, who swapped from his previous Area Motorsport with FastR CUPRA TCR DSG to a CUPRA TCR SEQ for this weekend. Bradley Kent completed the top ten.
Whilst an 11th place start on tomorrow’s race-one grid will be somewhat disappointing for 2021 runner-up Bruce Winfield, the Area Motorsport-run CUPRA TCR driver’s best time was only 0.724 seconds from that of Smiley, a measure that brings the fierceness of this year’s competition into perspective.
Having set a time a fraction over one-second slower than that of the pole-sitter, round two winner Jessica Hawkins will line up in 12th place – followed by Alex Ley, who starts his first TCR UK race from 13th position in the Daniel James Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR. Matthew Wilson will start from 14th place in his JWB Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, with Scott Sumpton 15th in his Essex and Kent prepared Hyundai i30N TCR ahead of highest placed Goodyear Diamond Trophy qualifier Andy Wilmot.
Despite his mid-session exit, Jack Depper claimed 17th place in front of Goodyear Diamond Trophy points leader Russell Joyce.
Ant Whorton-Eales (JamSport Racing Subaru Impreza TCR), Darelle Wilson (DW Racing Vauxhall Astra TCR), Steve Gales (Welch Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR), Chris Wallis (Power Maxed Racing Hyundai i30N TCR), Neil Trotter (Chameleon Motorsport CUPRA TCR), Mark Smith (Richmond Fire Motorsport CUPRA TCR) and Jac Constable (Power Maxed Racing CUPRA TCR) – who was unable to set a competitive time having suffered mechanical issues – complete the twenty-five car grid.