Carl Swift, driving the Endurance Financial CUPRA, won the opening race of the 2019 TCR UK championship at Oulton Park. With only two laps remaining, an incident involving the leading pair of cars resulted in both cars hitting the barrier, which meant the race was red-flagged.
A poor start from pole-sitter Henry Neal (competing in the TCT class) saw the two TCR CUPRA cars of Ollie Taylor (Maximum Motorsport) and Carl Swift pass the Honda. The pair then ran first and second, with Taylor steadily opening up a lead of over a second by Lap 4, with the recovering Neal attacking Swift for second place.
Neal briefly took second place going across the start/finish line at the start of Lap 5, but Swift then retook the position in the run down to Old Hall corner. Neal then attacked again going into Knickerbrook and succeeded in taking second from Swift before setting off in pursuit of Taylor.
Taylor then drove a superb defensive race, holding off a series of determined passing moves from Neal until Lap 11 when the pair made contact going into Old Hall and Neal took the lead briefly. Taylor re-took the lead when Neal found himself on the outside line at Cascades, although that lead was down to 0.180 seconds starting Lap 12. Neal then attempted to pass Taylor on the inside at Old Hall and the pair made contact again, with both cars ending up in the barriers. Swift then moved into the race lead, ahead of Alex Day (TCT) with Sunny Wong in third place in the Teamwork Huff Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The race was then red-flagged, so Carl Swift took the victory and Sunny Wong finished on the podium on his TCR UK race debut. Race 2 is scheduled to start at 16.45 BST with the top six places from Qualifying being reversed to form the grid.
Carl Swift: “I got a great start and got up with Ollie before Henry came back and battled me for a couple of laps. It was a good race, then I kind of just got lost, half a straight-length away from them and then that (the incident on Lap 12) happened. It’s good to score maximum points, but it’ll mean maximum ballast!”