MILLTEK SPORT VOLKSWAGEN RACING CUP - DONINGTON PARK FINALE REPORT
By unknown, Sep 25 2017 03:58PM
Cold and cloudy weather greeted the 22 Volkswagen Cup cars as they headed onto the undulating curves of the Derby based circuit. The session was quickly brought to a brief pause with the Scirocco of Mark Smith beached in the gravel on at the exit of McLeans, with the field taking to the pits as Smith received some manual assistance from the marshals to get him back to the pits.
Green flags flew with 15 minutes remaining on the clock, but it wasn’t to stay green for long as the Golf of Callum Jenkins spiked into the gravel going down the infamous Craner Curves, seeing him beached and out of the session.
Qualifying continued with Team Hard pilot Jamie Bond posting the first representative time of the session, throwing down the gauntlet, closely followed by teammate Bobby Thompson setting the second quickest time.
A lap later Thompson improved to break into the 1.43’s going quickest by quite a margin, but quickly displaced by Speedworks' Stephen Johansen, who went quickest by half a second, even after Thompson sent a new personal best the next lap.
Next to set representative times were the TT’s of Owen and Simon Walton who went P3 and P4 respectively. Championship protagonist Witts quickly leaped up the times to go third quickest as Allumy Motorsport’s Tom Walker set a personal best going P5.
Flashing past the timing beam, Thompson improved to half a tenth off the polo of Johansen with the white Scirocco of Tim Docker also improving to go an impressive third fastest. With little time left on the clock, Tom Walker went quicker, going P4 to only be displaced on the final lap by Slidesport’s Owen Walton.
The chequered flag dropped on the session seeing Stephen Johansen take his maiden pole in the Volkswagen Racing Cup from series points leader Bobby Thompson, who set the second quickest time. Third fastest was set by Owen Walton who was closely followed by Maximum Motorsport’s Tim Docker with an impressive performance claiming fourth on the starting grid.
The sun shone down on the Derby based circuit as Stephen Johansen led the field to the grid for the penultimate race of the season. After a brief warm up lap, the field was set with the sound of revving engines echoing off the grandstands. The red lights on the gantry lit up before flashing off to commence the first race of the day with the field rushing towards Redgate.
A good start from Tom Witts saw the number 2 Scirocco take to the inside going into the first bend, displacing series rival Jamie Bond whilst lining up an overtake on Slidesport’s Owen Walton exiting Hollywood. Tom Walker performed one of his signature starts pulling into second place by the exit of the first corner.
The field sorted themselves out into a single file procession with Tom Witts now glued to the back of series points leader Bobby Thompson heading down the Dunlop straight. Slight contact into the braking zone for the Esses saw the pair jut across the gravel with Witts losing a few places in result of the contact.
Thompson maintaining pace recovering from the excursion across the gravel lined up a move on Allumy Motorsport’s Tom Walker ahead, making the move stick exiting the Melbourne loop. Further back in the field yellow flags flew with the JWB Scirocco of Matthew Evans beached in the gravel on the outside of Coppice.
The safety car took to the circuit bring a slow pace to the proceedings as Evans received assistance from marshals. A lap later Johansen led the field back to race pace, as Rob Allum headed to the pits with mechanical problems.
The cars took to the Melborne loop seeing Gordon jump to the inside of Witts to displace the championship protagonist to sixth. The field raced on with Thompson applying pressure on the race leader Johansen who was defending hard.
Exiting Coppice Darelle Wilson and Tom Walker ran wide, with the diesel Scirocco spiking back onto the circuit forcing the oncoming traffic to jump onto the breaks in avoidance. Back at the front, Thompson persisted in his attack on the Polo ahead as he closed in through the Esses.
Johansen took to the inside on the breaks and Thompson dove to the outside door handle to door handle. The outside transfered to the inside as Thompson grabbed the position as he led the field onto the next lap.
Further back on the circuit Witts pushed on making his way past Peter Felix, seeing Tom now back into fifth with Gordon far up the road ahead in fourth. The clocked ticked down with the field entering the last lap lead by Thompson with a small margin back to Johansen.
The positions weren’t to change as Thompson took the chequered flag and fastest lap on his final rotation, followed across the line by a valiant drive from Stephen Johansen. Third place was claimed by Team Hard’s Jamie Bond with Kerian Gordon in close pursuit settling for fourth. Tom Witts was next to cross the line a frustrating fifth position after suffering with persistent break problems.
The bight conditions were not to stay for the second race later that day with the sun disappearing behind the clouds, making the finale conclude in a gloomy setting. Paul Dehadray benefited from the reverse grid as he led the field into their grid positions post warm up lap, lining up along side Darelle Wilson on the front row.
Moments later the field jumped into life as the red lights released the field for the final time this season. Smoke churned out the back of the Scirocco of Darelle Wilson as launched from the line with the Golf of Tom Walker in close pursuit. Dehadray fell down the order off the start as Witts slotted into to third place as the field flew into Redgate for the first time.
The cars shot through the Craner Curves tentatively with cold tyres, before arriving at the Old Hairpin seeing Matthew Wilson being closely followed by Stephen Johansen with them both losing the rear end resulting in them taking to the grass on the inside of the circuit before rejoining.
Darelle led the field across the line having not shaken the 77 of Walker trailing close behind, a small gap back to third place saw Witts already defending hard from Team Hard’s Jamie Bond, with the West Malling racing desperate to take as many points off Witts as possible in the championship hunt.
Further back, Bobby Thompson had not wasted time on his opening lap, having got up to sixth place chasing JWB’s Kieran Gordon ahead setting the fastest lap on his next rotation. The cars appeared heading down the Dunlop Straight once more with Gordon now ahead of Bond and closing in on Witts rapidly.
Close enough to make a move, Gordon lunged to the inside of the final corner, late of the breaks to displace Witts to fourth, with Thompson now latched to his bumper having got past Bond the corner before. Ahead Walker completed the fastest lap of the race chasing close behind Wilson as they headed for the first corner once again.
Wilson led the procession through the Craners up the hill and back down the back straight with gap back to third closing in lap by lap. Gordon making a mistake through the Esses came out slowly holding Witts up but allowing him to get a run up the inside as they raced towards the Melbourne loop. Thompson making the most of the situation ahead took to the outside as it went three wide into the braking zone.
Witts getting past Gordon then found Thompson on his inside as they turned into the final corner having gained and lost a position within two corners. Compremised from Thompson coming past, Witts found Gordon close behind, locking his brakes into Redgate allowied the number 36 Scirocco past into fourth position.
Tim Docker and Matthew Wilson skipped across the gravel at McLeans beaching themselves prompting the release of the safety car, marshals then reported that one of TT’s had left a large trail of oil on the circuit seeing Russell Joyce doing a complete 360 spin on arrival at the corner.
The clock ticked down as Matthew Wilson’s car was dragged to safety leaving for a one lap dash as the circuit went green once more. The field now bunched up allowed last minute lunges for positions as the field raced down the Dunlop Straight.
Getting a quick exit from the Esses Thompson jutted to the inside of Walker as the pair broke for the Melbourn hairpin for the final time. Exiting the corner Thompson secured the place seeing Walker attempt a move on the last bend around the outside but having enough momentum to pull the move off.
The chequered was ready and dropped on Darelle Wilson who claimed his maiden win in the series followed across the line by an ecstatic Bobby Thompson punching the air in delight as he secured the 2017 Milltek Sport Volkswagen Cup Championship by finishing the race in second place. Third across the line was Allumy Motorsport’s Tom Walker sealing his first podium in his maiden year in the series.