VW Racing Cup Preview – Croft
The Volkswagen Racing Cup makes its annual trip to Croft a few months earlier this year, as the Maximum Motorsport run event sets down in Yorkshire for their fifth round of the season. Ex-BTCC star Martin Depper leads the standings, but with six winners from the first eight races, everything’s still to play for.
Depper’s nearest rival is Owen Walton in the Audi TT. Just 10 points behind, Walton has been a factor all year, leading the championship after the opening weekend at Oulton, in which he won his only race this season. The SlideSports driver will be looking to build upon his string of recent top fives to reclaim the lead and pick up an important second victory. He secured fastest lap and a second place last year, but will be wary of his father Simon Walton in the second Audi. Simon recorded the pole position in 2018, but tragically saw his weekend end before the first race, he’ll be looking for revenge at Croft.
Family connections continue in the VW Cup as 2018 vice-champion Ru Clark returns for a second round with JW Bird Motorsport, this time joined by father Jeff. After technical issues dropped him out of race one, Clark secured a podium in race two at Donington and will be aiming for further silverware on his return to the Scirocco. Dad Jeff though will be driving the Golf. Finally, Martin’s son Jack Depper completes the father-son trio. Jack, racing for Maximum Motorsport has picked up two Hankook Trophies this season and will be a favourite to continue his streak this weekend.
The Hankook Trophy, awarded to drivers who haven’t scored a series podium before, has been won three times by both Matt Evans and Russell Joyce this year, with J. Depper taking the other two. Driving for JW Bird and PMR Racing respectively, Evans and Joyce will be determined to get the upper hand, especially for Joyce, who came close to winning outright at Donington until a late spin knocked him out of contention. The Trophy is not just a three way competition either, with JW Bird’s Richard Gilbert and Michael Jones; as well as Jeff Alden, Mark Steel and Mark Smith, who’s driving the Team Richard Fire Eng Scirocco, also in contention.
Rob Allum became the series latest winner at Donington, jumping up from ninth and narrowly beating M. Depper during an intense mixed weather second race. The Allumy Motorsport driver will be aiming for a repeat, just like the race one winner Mark Wakefield. Wakefield was the star of Croft last year with a third and first place. Having picked up two wins in the last two rounds, the HSG Sport supported driver will be a favourite to take honours today. Both Wakefield and Josh Coggan have been the underdogs to watch this season, as the latter reignites his championship fight with DW Racing.
Both will have their work cut out though as two more drivers are still in need of a first win. Tony Prendergast picked up a first podium at Snetterton and since the first round has been one of the series most consistent racers, a first win cannot be far away. Meanwhile Lewis Smith has seen misfortune plague his last two rounds, but remains one of the series quickest drivers over a single lap.
Qualifying will determine the grid for the opening race with the top six reversed for the second 20 minute encounter on Sunday.