James Turkington slightly extends his TCR UK Series points lead as he led from the first lap at Brands Hatch. The Ciceley Motorsport Cupra TCR took the lead before the first corner and never looked back, heading into the final round with a 19 point lead.
Turkington had started second on the grid, but made a better start than polesitter Henry Neal, running around the outside of Paddock Hill. Neal would initially hold his position, but a five second penalty for track limits saw him classify behind Lewis Kent, who finishes second despite a poor start that left him last after the first lap.
With the title on the line, Kent’s race did not initially run to plan. A slow start was made worse when the Hyundai outbraked himself into Druids and running onto the grass. Dropping three seconds behind the pack in front, he spent the first half closing into Darelle Wilson and scything through the field, setting fastest lap.
Kent knows Brands better than any other driver, pulling off the overtake of the race on Alex Day, crossing back to the inside of Paddock Hill in a late lunge for fourth. After making his way past Lines, the overtake on Nick Halstead for the third saw him again run to the inside of Paddock Hill, making the most of the Hyundai’s lack of ballast. The Orange Motorsport Honda would fight back at Druids, but Kent kept his line on the outside, moving into third overall by the tenth lap.
Henry Neal proved much harder to overtake. Kent was clearly quicker, but the Honda Civic Type R was not prepared to give up position, even at the expense of track limits. Neal’s penalty promoted Kent to second, but frustratingly, leaving him behind on track, unable to catch Turkington.
The other major battle in the race saw the grids youngest and oldest driver battle it out for fifth. Stewart Lines started ahead of Alex Day, but as the race entered its final ten minutes, the HMS Racing driver was looking to gain ground. The Audi A4 was quicker in a straight line and forced Lines into a mistake at Paddock Hill, using his superior traction to take the position up Hallwoods Hill.
Day was far from finished though, chasing and passing Nick Halstead, benefitting from the Honda’s extra weight, that was hindering Halstead’s pace. Day finished fourth as Lines was classified fifth after Halstead was given a five second penalty for track limits. Rounding out the order was Darelle Wilson in the Opel Astra, after a tough weekend for the DW Racing driver.
After his first TCR UK win, James Turkington will be under pressure to wrap up the title next round. Turkington has 136pts to Kent’s 117pts. Speaking about the win, he said;
“We’ve had a solid weekend, maximising what we had and scoring some really good points. I got another start and was anticipating Henry to come back at me, but I just had the edge, I’m delighted with the guys at Ciceley.”
Second place Lewis Kent was confident going into the final round;
“If we didn’t have the mistake, we might have been up there. A really good battle with Neal all the way through and I absolutely loved it, really happy to claw some points back and pace we can carry on to Donington.”