Wakefield takes his first win of the season in the VW Racing Cup
A spectacular first win of the season for Mark Wakefield was an incredible achievement for a driver that almost didn’t start the last round at Snetterton due to technical issues. The Mark Wakefield Racing with HSG Sport driver hit back with a vengeance at Silverstone, jumping from ninth on the grid.
Polesitter Josh Coggan initially raised concern as the car steamed on the line. It proved to be ominous, not surviving the first lap, though it would be after contact with Lewis Smith. The Smith Motorsport driver had run side-by-side through Becketts, with the touch sending both off. Coggan was demoted to the back, retiring later due to his engine issues, as Smith rejoined at the tail of the top ten, though pitted later with his own issues. The curse of the leaders continued as technical issues saw Rob Allum also tumble down the order, though unlike the other two, he eventually got back up to speed.
This promoted both Owen Walton and Wakefield to the head of the pack. The Golf had started in ninth, but was the biggest gainer of the first lap, taking the lead on the second lap, demoting Owen. The two continued to battle on track, allowing Simon Walton and Martin Depper.
Wakefield gradually broke away, holding a half second advantage to the chasing Audi’s. The result gives him his first win of the season, holding off the advancing Owen Walton. It would be Walton’s main championship rival, Depper who completed the podium, after a mistake by his father Simon at Becketts on lap seven let the 50-year-old through.
Best of the rest in fifth would be Tony Prendergast. The JW Bird driver remained out of trouble early on, catching eventual Hakook Trophy winner Russell Joyce in the closing stages, securing his second top five finish in as many rounds. Allum’s topsy-turvy race would conclude in dramatic fashion as he crossed the line sixth, after overtaking Joyce on the closing lap, only to have his front left wheel break off on the cooldown lap. The result ensured that six different teams finished inside the top seven.
Mark Steel ensured that all SlideSports cars finished inside the top eight, as rookies Jack Depper and Jeff Alden secured another top ten finish. Further back, Matt Evans would be eleventh from Richard Gilbert (who recovered after his turn one spin) and Michael Jones.
Speaking to Mark Wakefield after the race, the Northwich driver was ecstatic.
“After the start of the season we’ve had, there’s been some good results and we’re still there abouts in the championship. All the work that’s gone into it, it proves we’re going forward. The lads have worked day and night, for weeks and weeks to figure out what the problem was. Hopefully we’ve found the issue and it’s making a difference, so that’s the main thing.”
“I want to thank all my sponsors, Lee San, everyone who’s involved, the whole team is just amazing.” Talking about the championship, Wakefield said; “I need to add the points up. It’s not just about winning, I’ve won a karting championship without scoring a victory before. It’s about collecting them points, getting some good results, I just need consistency.”
Russell Joyce was equally as enthusiastic, recording another Hankook Trophy for his collection. “Our strategy this year has been, keep it clean, collect points and see where we are. Coming into this round we were fourth in the championship and it seems to be working. There are some strong drivers out there, but we seem to be staying with them, so I’m really pleased.”
Race Two starts at 17:40, Rob Allum is provisionally on pole.
“We all do it for trophies and the Hankook Trophies been brought in for people to win. It gives us something, when we’re in fourth, fifth place and you see a class competitor behind you, you really do put the pedal down. A trophy’s still a trophy at the end of the day,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without Power Maxed Racing. They’re a British Touring Car team and they’ve taken relative rookie me and put me at the sharp end of a very competitive championship, so I’m over the moon with them.”