By winning Oulton Park’s Race 2, Ashley Sutton completed a brilliant hat trick on his first appearance in TCR UK. The reigning BTCC champion, who had been called to replace Finlay Crocker in the Verizon Connect Racing Honda Civic FK7, proved he was in a league of his own by claiming pole position and scoring two authoritative race wins.
Behind him there were thrilling fights for the other podium position that eventually fell to Oliver Taylor and Lewis Kent, while points leader Daniel Lloyd was classified fourth, missing the podium for the first time.
Robert Gilmour’s Alfa Romeo and Carl Swift’s Cupra were both missing after the Race 1 incident, which was especially painful for Swift who should have started from the pole. And this made Sutton’s life even easier at the start, as he took the lead from the second spot of the grid.
Kent’s Hyundai jumped into second position ahead of Jessica Bäckman’s Volkswagen; the Swedish girl went wide at the chicane during the first lap and dropped to seventh, while Derek Palmer’s Alfa Romeo, Stewart Lines’ Cupra, Lloyd’s Golf and Taylor’s Honda began fighting for the positions from third to sixth. On lap 2, Andreas Bäckman lost time in the pits for a gearbox issue.
Palmer was able to pull away from the fighting group and began to reduce his gap from Kent, but on lap 6 he went off and retired. One lap later, Lines and Lloyd made contact, Lines spun and rejoined at the back while Taylor took advantage of the situation and moved up to third, ahead of Lloyd. In the final part of the race, the pair was able to catch Kent who eventually went wide at the last corner and lost second place to Taylor.
After the race, Lloyd was given a 15-point penalty and a drop of five positions on the grid for the next race for the collision with Lines, therefore his leading margin in the standings went down to 78 points over Taylor; Andreas Bäckman is third a further 60 points adrift.
TCR UK will resume at Croft on September 8 and 9.
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