Daniel Lloyd claimed an eighth victory of the 2018 TCR UK Championship season amid treacherously wet conditions at Donington Park, and in doing so the WestCoast Racing driver has been provisionally crowned the series’ inaugural Champion.
Lloyd made a textbook start in the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and eased into the lead, taking full advantage of a prolonged scuffle between team mate Andreas Bäckman and JP Racing’s Josh Price (Honda Civic Type R FK2) to edge 16.782 seconds clear at the chequered flag. The former TCR International Series race winner now holds an insurmountable 50 point advantage in the standings, with a maximum of just 40 available in the season finale later today.
Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor started the penultimate round of the campaign as the only man mathematically able to deny Lloyd the crown, but his charge unravelled as, despite passing Jessica Bäckman’s VW for third off the start, he slid wide in the slippery conditions at Redgate and rejoined down the order after skimming through the gravel. His fightback began at the expense of Bäckman once again, and then Stewart Lines’ CUPRA, but ultimately couldn’t overhaul team mate Finlay Crocker’s Honda Civic Type R FK7 or Andreas to get a clear run at his championship rival. His cause was aided, however, with an unfortunate retirement for Price after he slowed on the Wheatcroft Straight with five minutes remaining.
Crocker, therefore, completes the podium in third and takes home silverware for the second successive meeting, with Taylor fourth and Lines edging out Jessica Bäckman for fifth and sixth respectively. The latter’s duel with Lewis Kent (Essex & Kent Motorsport) for fourth overall will go down to the wire, with the Hyundai i30 N TCR finishing eighth behind the second Maximum Motorsport-run CUPRA of Carl Swift. SWR’s Sean Walkinshaw rounded out the field as the sole-surviving Honda Civic Type R FK2, with Price a retiree and Darelle Wilson unable to take the start after the Vauxhall Astra encountered a problem on the green flag lap.
Dan Lloyd (1st) said,“I’m just over the moon. It’s felt like such a long summer; we made a good start, but with a few things like ballast, penalty points and a failure at Croft, it started going the other way. But I kept positive, kept focused and just did everything I could and put everything into it. The team at WestCoast Racing have been faultless, I owe it all to them and I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without them.
“It was only supposed to be a one-race deal, and we’ve built from that. On paper everyone says I should win it, but it comes with a different type of pressure, it’s expected of you. But I’m pleased about what we’ve done this year, it’s had it’s ups and downs but what I would like to say is - without this championship, I wouldn’t have started racing anything this year.
“It’s led to other good things, it’s brought on new sponsors, so whether it’s a huge series or a smaller one, it is what you make of it. Thanks again to everyone for all their supportive comments.”
Andreas Bäckman (2nd) said,“It was a really good result for me, and a great race. I made a good start and from there I tried to keep up with Dan [Lloyd], but he was a bit faster than me. The start was really intense. I made a good start so I could follow Dan into Turn 1 and kept a gap to Ollie [Taylor] and Jessica [Bäckman] behind, which was positive.
“I’m really pleased with what we’ve accomplished this year, and congratulations to Dan on being crowned Champion.”
Finlay Crocker (3rd) said,“You don’t come into a championship like this if you don’t believe you can do something - and I believe we can. I was a bit apprehensive in the wet, I won’t tell any lies, and going into the first couple of corners I was beginning to question the sensibility of doing what we were. Luck ran our way a little bit there but we did genuinely have the pace, Andreas was struggling for drive out of one or two corners where we were stronger - I just wasn’t strong enough in a couple of other places.
“We made a couple of changes on the grid and it was the right way to go and the car got better as the race went on. It was really good, I really enjoyed it.”
An amended timetable after poor weather conditions in the East Midlands throughout the day means the final race - reduced in length to 15 minutes - is now scheduled to get underway at 16:55 BST.