Bradley Kent Dominates Debut Qualifying at Damp Oulton Park
Bradley Kent took pole position in a split Volkswagen Racing Cup qualifying session at Oulton Park. It was a statement of intent from the teenager who joins the championship for the first time this season. His lap was made more impressive by the intense rain that battered the circuit, as a red flag ensured only 10 mins were given to find the perfect lap time.
For the first time, the VW Racing Cup would be joined in the same session by the TCT/TCR UK. The two championships would occupy the same tarmac making it a challenge for all those involved, testing each driver’s skill, on top of the lashing rain.
Kent, racing the Scirocco for his family-run team Essex and Kent Motorsport, was quick out of the garage and just like his brother in the TCT/TCR UK class, was immediately quick, topping the VW’s during the initial flying laps. His time of 2:03.246 was enough to put him ahead of a few TCT cars by the time the red flag emerged to deal with Max Hart’s stricken Cupra TCR.
As the drivers emerged back on track, it soon became obvious that no one could touch Kent. The Essex and Kent Motorsport driver failed to improve his time, yet remained fastest, two seconds quicker than his nearest competitor.
Richard Gilbert proved best of the rest for JM Racing. Gilbert, an experienced competitor, only made the deal two days prior to the weekend and will be buoyed by his pace, especially compared to his teammate and VW Cup race winner Josh Coggan. Coggan, who co-runs the JM squad recorded a 2:05.342 to line up third alongside fellow co-owner Mark Wakefield. Both will be expected to fight for the win and numbers will be on their side, ensuring Kent’s pole time could be all for nought if he cannot maintain the pressure behind.
GT and Endurance racer Liam Griffin was best of the rest during his maiden VW session in fifth and will be happy with his time on a damp track. His lap just 0.167 behind Wakefield. Jeff Alden lines up sixth with Matrix Motorsport as Team HARD scholarship winner Ollie Brown is seventh as he embarks on his maiden season of Touring Car racing.
Andy Wilmot, the former BTCC driver, will line up in eighth upon his first return to the VW Cup since 2013, proving how the tricky conditions were catching out even the best drivers. Tony Prendergast struggled in his Scirocco, though like 2019 his weekend will be supported more by consistency than one-lap pace, as Paul Dehadray qualifies tenth.
Rounding out the order will be Kieran Griffin in the JW Bird Motorsport car, while William Butler in the sole Polo will be hoping for a cleaner race after failing to get within two seconds of the car in front.