Lewis Kent starts on pole on his return to the TCR UK / Dunlop Touring Car Trophy. The Essex and Kent Motorsport runner doesn’t carry weight into the Donington Park event and will be looking to start his 2019 title campaign in perfect fashion this afternoon, after setting a time of 1min 36.669.
The Touring Car Trophy / TCR UK begun its second round qualifying under mild conditions with the track under 20 degrees. As a result, it took some time for the cars to find their limit, with Alex Day the first to set a competitive time in his Audi ‘Sherman’ A4. The Britcar graduate remained competitive, as the top TCT runner for much of the session.
As qualifying entered its final three minutes, the battle for pole soon came to a battle between the Hyundai i30 N TCR of Lewis Kent and Cupra DSG of Max Coates. The DAT Racing runner had set his time first, taking the Cupra over from Guy Colclough who drove it the first round of the season. It would not last though, with Kent lowering the benchmark by 0.049 seconds to take pole on his return to the series.
Darrelle Wilson, who has graduated full time to the series from the VW Racing Cup, was the last to show his hand, going immediately to the top with his first competitive time at the halfway point of the session. It would soon be beaten, though a second flying lap saw him become the first driver to drop under the 1min 37sec mark. He would only complete 9 laps, but remained third.
Completing the second row would be Ciceley Motorsports James Turkington. The Cupra TCR driver made sure the top four cars were separated by under 0.4 seconds. His fellow Touring Car relation Henry Neal will be just behind in his father Neal’s, Honda Civic Type R, the second highest TCT runner.
Last minute entry Mark Wakefield, has taken over Carl Swift’s race winning Cupra TCR for the meeting and on debut managed to qualify sixth, just 0.567 seconds off the polesitter Kent. Rounding out the grid would be Nick Halstead and Alex Day for both the TCR UK and TCT class respectively. The grid proved to be incredibly competitive with seven of the eight runners separated by under a second.
“I’m really pleased with it,” said polesitter Kent. “I came to the weekend looking forward to it with no weight on the car. Really happy with how we performed and can’t wait for the races now. Hopefully we’ll get our head down and have a good battle with Max and the others.”
“This is some of the best weather conditions for the tyres because it doesn’t overheat them too much. So we’re really happy with the car, I can’t thank the boys from Essex & Kent Motorsport enough.”
Top TCT runner Max Coates lines up alongside him on the grid.
“We missed out by half a tenth. I’d have loved to have taken pole but we were a fraction short, so very happy with that. I’m worried about getting it off the line, I’ve not done a standing start in one of these. So that will be the hardest thing to master as we head towards turn one.”