WestCoast Racing’s Daniel Lloyd claimed victory in the opening TCR UK championship race at Brands Hatch after recovering to edge out a fast-starting Ollie Taylor.
The Pyro Motorsport racer made the better start from the front row and edged ahead in the Honda Civic Type R FK7 on the outside line heading into Paddock Hill Bend. Drama ensued behind the pair as Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) moved up to third and then made light contact with Lloyd’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR at Druids, before sliding a little wide at Graham Hill Bend and allowing the top two to escape up the road.
Though Taylor held firm in his defence of the lead, Lloyd would not be denied and pounced on an opening at Clearways to reclaim top spot and then extended his advantage to 1.8 seconds before the end. The result increases his advantage in the championship to 80 points, whilst second for Taylor means he moves up to the same position in the standings.
Josh Price (BMR Autoglym Academy) looked to have held onto fourth after an absorbing race-long contest with Jessica Bäckman (WestCoast Racing), but disaster struck on the run to the chequered flag and the Honda Civic FK2 slowed, allowing the TCR Scandinavia racer to seize a strong result on her debut at the 1.2 mile Indy circuit.
Another drama struck the CUPRA TCR of Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport) on the formation lap as an issue with the air jacks forced him to a halt, but swift work by his mechanics allowed him to make the start, and he recovered in composed fashion to post a season-best result of fifth. Jessica’s sibling Andreas survived a sideways moment after contact at Surtees to put all three WestCoast Racing machines in the top six, ahead of the Pyro Motorsport machine of Finlay Crocker.
Carl Swift claimed eighth and will look to capitalise on pole position in the reverse-grid race later this afternoon as he chases a maiden victory in the series, with Price eventually crossing the line ninth and Howard Fuller (Sean Walkinshaw Racing) rounding out the top ten after edging out a thrilling scrap with Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra.
Alex Morgan was forced to retire the Renault Megane TCR on its competitive debut on domestic shores, but gathered valuable data on the car and will look for a better turn of luck in the second contest later today.
Daniel Lloyd (1st) said, “I was angry with myself that I got caught out at the start and bogged down, Ollie [Taylor] managed to pass me so fair play. I got quite a big hit at Druids and was so close to spinning round, luckily I held it.
“It was just about settling down and watching where Ollie was quick and where he wasn’t, I chose my spot two or three laps before and knew what I was going to do, I just made sure it stuck.
“It was really tough and there was a lot of pickup on the track as well - the worst thing was thinking about picking up a puncture - the sound was awful. We’ve got a lot going on in the background to keep me going for the rest of the year, some new sponsors may be coming on board, so yeah, it means a lot.”
Ollie Taylor (2nd) said, “I thought I had him there! I should have been alright to defend, I thought he was on my left at Clearways and thought ‘I’ll open it up a little bit and get a run onto the start/finish straight’ so he couldn’t attack into Paddock Hill Bend, and he was already on my right-hand side. It was too late, I couldn’t shut the door.
“I just tried to stay on his bumper for as long as I could, but it’s quite intense only being a few inches from another car around here and I just made a few mistakes. It’s good to be back on the podium, those points were much-needed and it’s also good for our championship in taking some points away from other people. Hopefully we’ll get a similar start in race in race two and see what happens from there!”
Lewis Kent (3rd) said, “It feels really good to get this first podium finish and I can’t thank all the guys at Essex & Kent Motorsport enough. We pushed hard at the start and managed to get into third and then managed our tyres during the middle. I started going for it with ten laps left and you could see the lead gap decreasing, maybe if the race had been another five minutes longer I’d have passed him.
“It’s great marketing at our home event. Everybody that sponsors me is from around this area so it’s really good for them and I’ve got so much support - half my family are here - so it’s good to have everyone here supporting me and to reward them with a podium.”