WestCoast Racing secured a 1-2 finish in the final TCR UK Touring Car Championship contest at Brands Hatch, with championship leader Daniel Lloyd taking a sixth victory in a row to extend his lead in the standings.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR started on the fifth row of the grid but made a strong start and cut through the field in sublime fashion, eventually besting a stoic defence from the CUPRA of Carl Swift to seize the advantage into Graham Hill Bend. The result extends Lloyd’s advantage at the top of the table to 99 points.
Team-mate Jessica Bäckman followed Lloyd through to complete a strong result for the Swedish outfit - her first podium in the championship - with Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) emerging on top of a duel for the final spot on the rostrum with Swift’s Maximum Motorsport teammate Stewart Lines.
Swift drove valiantly but was unfortunate to pull off at Surtees in the closing stages with a suspected front-right suspension problem, whilst contact between Lines and Andreas Bäckman on the exit of Druids similarly prevented the latter from challenging for silverware.
Ollie Taylor saw out a strong weekend with fifth in the Pyro Motorsport-run Honda Civic Type R FK7, though team-mate Finlay Crocker’s obvious pace went unrewarded and a spin at McLarens forced the Scottish racer into the pits and out of contention.
Darelle Wilson put in a season-best showing in the Vauxhall Astra, claiming sixth ahead of Lewis Kent’s Hyundai i30 N TCR, which started well but fell back and eventually took seventh via a trip to the pit lane for a tyre change.
In a race of high attrition Swift came next ahead of Backman, with Crocker, Josh Price’s Honda Civic FK2 after a suspected recurring fuel surge and the Renault Megane TCR of Alex Morgan rounding out the field after continued mechanical struggles.
Daniel Lloyd (1st) said: “That wasn’t easy by any means, but it was good fun. I don’t know what happened to Carl [Swift] at the end, but I’m gutted for him, he put up a mega fight. I thought I’d gotten him with a late move at Graham Hill Bend but he managed to get the cutback so I had to settle and do it all again.
“I had to push a lot harder at the start of that one, so at the end I had all sorts of noises happening inside the car, every lap I was worried about a puncture but we managed to get away with it.
“That fight with Carl shows a lot about the championship - it is competitive. It’s not just leading, which I’ve shown I can do, but getting through the traffic cleanly. I’m not taking it for granted, working hard every time - everyone keeps saying it looks easy, but I’m working harder than I ever have done, so I’m really pleased.
“A big thanks to WestCoast Racing, they repaired the car in fifteen minutes and did a mega job, and congratulations to my team-mate Jessica [Backman] on her first podium, she did a great job.”
Jessica Bäckman (2nd) said: “I had a quite good start and then I was behind a lot of drivers, I knew I was faster so I had to get past as quickly as I could - I did that and managed to get a gap, so I’m very happy.
“This result means everything to me; my goal this year was to get a podium and now I’ve got that, so I’m very happy. I also need to thank my team-mate Dan Lloyd for all his help this year, and also a big thank you to all the team at WestCoast Racing who did a great job.
Howard Fuller (3rd) said: “It’s very emotional, isn’t it? The way we’re doing things is different and it’s obviously working. I know we got a little bit lucky with some people tripping over each other, but we all had the same opportunity, there’s no doubt about that.
“I just kept my nose clean as best as I could, but when I saw my pit board showed me I was P5 and the guys in front were tripping over each other, I thought ‘you know what, we’ve really got this’. I wanted to save some tyres at the end but I threw caution to the wind and went for it; I’m very happy with that result.
“We’ve got some awesome supporters, I really wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them or the support from my family and friends. Social media has been going off the hook, so I’m so lucky to have such great support. I hope everyone enjoyed it at home, and I look forward to the next one!”
The championship heads next to Castle Combe in Wiltshire over the weekend of 14-15 July.