Depper Wins Dramatic Opening Race from Brands Hatch
It was a third win of the season for Martin Depper as the Maximum Motorsport Scirocco broke away in the opening VW Racing Cup race of the weekend at Brands Hatch. Benefiting from action around him, the former-BTCC driver had built a substantial gap within a handful of laps, cruising to the flag.
A chaotic start to the race saw Rob Allum turned around before the exit of the pitlane by Owen Walton. With Ru Clark in front making a slow start, the two made contact spinning the Allumy Motorsport driver into the outside barrier, bringing his race to an abrupt end.
Josh Coggan would join the list of retirements as the polesitter made a mistake out of Graham Hill, sliding out of contention, though he would continue. This in turn, promoted Martin Depper to the lead with Clark now chasing him down.
The 2018 vice-champion could not keep up for long though, with Depper using his lack of success ballast to set fastest lap and extend his lead. Depper would set the fastest lap before the pair backed off to save tyres. Crossing the finish line, exactly at the twenty minute mark, Depper won by 4.2 seconds, though Clark had an incredible 19 second gap to podium finisher behind.
As the race developed, all eyes turned to this battle for the final podium place, with Russell Joyce holding third and holding up title contenders Mark Wakefield and the Audi TT’s. With under ten minutes of the race to run, Wakefield made the run into Druids, driving around the outside of Joyce to secure the place into Graham Hill. Joyce would collect a fifth Hankook Trophy of the year with a career best fourth place result as the Audi’s fell back in the closing stages.
Championship leader Owen Walton hung onto fifth, as father Simon Walton came home just behind. Simon had initially looked to gain ground, but changed his approach later on as Tony Prendergast narrowed on the pair. Simon and Prendergast would be side by side across the line, with the Audi hanging on by 0.115 seconds.
A career best-equalling eighth place for Jeff Alden came at the end of a spectacular drive from fourteenth on the grid, coming at the end of a race long battle with Mark Steel who finished under a second behind the Maximum Motorsport driver. Rounding out the top ten would be fellow Hankook Trophy runner Richard Gilbert, dropping back after a small mistake at Sterlings on lap seven.
Behind them, Jeff Clark continued to improve his racecraft with eleventh in front of Lewis Smith and Michael Jones in the JW Bird Golf. Unfortunately for Jack Depper, he could not match his father’s performance, being forced to pit before the conclusion as Coggan’s DW Racing crew amazingly got the Golf Mk7 back on the circuit to complete the race.
On the podium, winner Martin Depper said;
“Fortunately for me, Ru bogged down a little at the start, which created a gap and I just managed it from there really. It was amazing when I found the space, the race appeared to go on forever. I’m looking forward to the second one now with all the ballast, hopefully the car can handle it well.”
Hankook Trophy winner Russell Joyce, who’d impressed many, by racing the title contenders, commented;
“It was very tight out there, very hot and difficult. We were lucky it opened up in the first lap as I managed to get from seventh to third. Having Wakker (Wakefield) behind me, he was always going to challenge for third place.”