YOUNGSTER DAVIS SHINES WITH ‘ROCK’ SOLID WEEKEND
By karlbowdrey, May 1 2016 12:35PM
The opening weekend of the 2016 Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup started at Rockingham Motorsport Speedway this weekend with a whole host of new names, UK first and a series first taking to the field.
Phil House topped the timing screens early on in the session before Simon Rudd posted a blistering lap of 1:29.834 which later proved untouchable for the rest of the field.
Jack Walker-Tully was suffering from a slow puncture but that didn’t hold him back from post a 1:30.040 and taking 2nd position for race one.
Power Maxed Racing were fielding for the first time there all new Volkswagen Polo’s with Bobby Thompson moving from Team Hard over the winter months and a new signing of Stefan Di Resta, brother of the former Formula One driver Paul Di Resta. Thompson didn’t delay in making his mark with the new team but left it late to post his fast lap. Thomson managed to secure 4th whilst his team mate Di Resta qualified in 14th.
New-comer Tom Witts with another series first of a Volkswagen Golf MK7 qualified in 7th. Rob Cox, Kenan Dole, Jamie Bond and Kenan Dole all new-comers to the series qualified in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th respectively.
Simon Rudd: “That was good, we had a plan to a little running yesterday in practice just get our eye in on the new track layout for 2016. We wanted to do 4 quick laps in qualifying but we only did 3 in the end. I brought the car in and the boys said we were pole. Very happy but on the other side its only qualifying.”
Bobby Thompson: “Absolutely fantastic considering we didn’t get the chance to drive the car yesterday. I couldn’t really ask for more, obviously it would have been fantastic if we got the pole but I’m going to progress throughout the day and see how we get on”
Race 1 proved to be no let down, Simon Rudd starting from pole found himself under pressure straight away. Darelle Wilson took no prisoners as he shot from 5th to 2nd in his diesel powered Volkswagen Scirocco before leaving the Deene hairpin sideways and dropping back to 8th.
As the pack left the hairpin for the first time Jack Walker-Tully was forced to take avoiding action from Wilson’s sideways Scirocco demoting him to 7th whilst the battle was fierce at the front with Rudd and House side-by-side but with House having the inside line there was only going to be one winner.
House continued to hold the lead for the early stages but this was just the foundations for a fantastic pack battle that was shaping up behind him.
With Walker-Tully now battling his way back through the pack, the lap times were falling lap after lap. Setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 6, Walker-Tully was doing everything in his power to get back to the podium but Rudd and Dole had other ideas to ensure that a podium wouldn’t come easy.
With a 3 car battle for 2nd place at the front, further down the field Toby Davis, the 2015 Team Hard scholarship winner who started in 15th position due to a electrical issues in qualifying was proving despite the novice cross on the back of his car he was showing he is far from inexperienced climbing up the grid lap after lap.
Back towards the front, House, was still leading as the race entered its final lap. Rudd was hot on the tail of House but couldn’t make it pay in the dying stages. Walker-Tully had managed to steal 3rd following a great come back drive whilst Kenan Dole was trying everything in his power to take his first ever podium.
Stefan Di Resta was gaining ground at the back following a difficult start to his weekend. As the chequered flag fell the Scotsman came across the line in 9th.
Davis slipped his way through the pack and at the chequered flag had made up and incredibly impressive 11 places.
Jack Walker-Tully: “It was close, legal and I enjoyed it. I used to much of my tyres to get back anymore. 3rd is a good result.”
Kenan Dole: “I couldn’t believe I was up there with them to be honest. I managed to get close to Walker-Tully, I thought I had him.”
Stefan Di Resta: “Considering I was 4 seconds off in qualifying there is still a lot of time to find. I had no testing here and I was a bit rusty myself but I feel that’s gone now.”
Toby Davis: “Fantastic, absolutely amazing. Its more than I could have ever thought for. This morning with some qualifying drama I didn’t get out and with recent rain we didn’t know where would be. To finish 5th I’m so pleased its incredible.”
As race 2 fell the Northamptonshire sunshine was a blaze. A reverse grid race placed Bond and Davis on the front row with Dole and Walker-Tully close behind.
As the lights went out Darelle Wilson was once again the best of the line. As the pack left the Deene Hairpin for the first time Wilson once again was sideways demoting him to 8th.
Bond currently holding the lead had an incident leaving Pif-Paf where the field still bunched up managed to get past sending Bond down to 13th.
Tom Witts was hoping to build on his finish in race 1 following some electrical gremlins early on in the race but that wasn’t to prevail. An incident with Bond as the pair entered Yentwood left Witts in the tyre wall and forcing the only retirement from the race.
With the safety car deployed the pack re-assembled. Davis leading from House, Walker-Tully and Dole. Bobby Thompson was starting to cause some issues for Dole and after a couple of laps trying to find a gap. Thompson finally made it pay and demoted Dole to 5th following a mistake forcing him to run wide.
With the battle at the front still alive, Walker-Tully was now closing in Davis with House currently in 3rd. As the leaders left the Brook chicane for the final time there was only 0.802 separating the 3.
Toby Davis: “I had 2 championship contenders behind me and I managed to hold them off, it was very nerve racking. Hopefully we will crack on with the championship and have a crack at that as well.”