Ollie Taylor reignited his championship challenge in the TCR UK series at Croft with a lights-to-flag victory in the reverse-grid second race, as his main rival Dan Lloyd retired on the opening lap.
Pyro Motorsport’s Taylor started the race from pole position and led into the first corner from Verizon Connect Racing’s Finlay Crocker and WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman, whilst further back Lloyd had hauled his Volkswagen into fourth after the first two corners. Disaster then struck for Lloyd at the chicane, as his Volkswagen Golf speared off the circuit onto the infield with suspension damage, forcing him out of the race. Lloyd could then only watch from the sidelines as Taylor went on to secure his second win of the season, slashing Lloyd’s championship advantage to 31 points with only two races left to run.
Crocker took his best-ever TCR result on his return to the series, making it a 1-2 for the Pyro-run Honda Civic FK8 cars, whilst WestCoast Racing’s Andreas Bäckman made it a podium lock-out for Honda in third. Jessica Bäckman was the leading Volkswagen driver in fourth, with the WestCoast Racing driver improving on her race one performance after a relatively quiet race. Stewart Lines brought his Maximum Motorsport CUPRA home in fifth, whilst Essex & Kent Motorsport’s Lewis Kent was the last of the classified finishers in sixth after pitting for a new tyre after picking up a puncture early in the race.
DW Racing’s Darelle Wilson failed to take the start after his recurring steering rack problems returned in race one, ruling his Vauxhall Astra out of the second encounter in Yorkshire.
Ollie Taylor (1st) said: “That’s what we wanted, wasn’t it? A lights-to-flag win. It was great, that’s what we came for this weekend. With our approach to qualifying and our tactics that’s what we were aiming for and we gave ourselves the best chance.
“It was a great start and off we went. It was good fun not being in that pressured environment, really working with the car and I brought it home.
“You don’t want to think about [what goes on behind] too much really. The guys told me [about Lloyd’s retirement] over the radio. It’s a bit of a shame, because we’d like to have a battle, but at the end of the day I’ve got to think about my own championship. I had a DNF at Knockhill and Dan had one here, so it’s certainly tightened things up a bit.
“We’ve still got to keep focus, with our foot on the gas, and get as many points when we can with results like that. It’s a great result for myself and the team. Pyro Motorsport put a fantastic car under me as always, so it’s been great.”
Finlay Crocker (2nd) said: ““I knew all along that we had the capability to do it, but we just really needed to get it all together. Sometimes things work in your favour and sometimes they don’t, and we benefitted from a second-place start. The car was mega; I always chuckle when I hear people stand up and come out with all the waffle, but the guys have put together a first-class car so I’m chuffed to bits with a 1-2 finish.
“I know I can race, I just need to shed about three stone and get a bit closer at the front to start with! I would say my race craft generally has been one of my stronger attributes. I could see where he [Andreas Bäckman] was stronger and I knew where I was stronger. Getting out of the last corner was just killing me lap-after-lap and I kept thinking he was going to get my next time, but we just managed to keep enough of a gap in the right places. He could have had some crazy lunges, and some people would, and he didn’t, so I appreciate that.
“It’s just dawned on me that it’s a 1-2-3 for Honda so a big thanks to JAS as well for the cars that they’ve produced, and we’ve got there in the end. This semi-retirement caper is not too bad!”
Andreas Bäckman (3rd) said: “It was really tough to get past him [Finlay]. I felt that I was quicker, but I couldn’t really be fast enough in the places where it’s possible to overtake so it was really difficult. I did my best all the time, but in the end third is still a good result.
“I’m really glad for my first pole, win and now a podium as well so it’s been a good weekend.””
The final TCR UK round of the year takes place at Donington Park on the 13-14 October.