Wakefield takes second victory of the season
Mark Wakefield took his second Volkswagen Racing Cup victory of the year benefitting from a mistake by polesitter Josh Coggan while leading at Donington Park. The Golf, run by Mark Wakefield Racing with HSG Sport, tasted victory last round as well as moves within touching distance of the points lead.
Despite starting second, Wakefield lost out initially to Rob Allum. The Allumy Motorsports driver came to an immediate halt as he carried too much speed into the first turn, spinning into the gravel and allowing Coggan to break from the field. He’d continue at the back, but with a damaged bumper, eventually breaking it off. He wouldn’t be the only driver in trouble on the first lap either as Ru Clarke was forced to retire with a repeat of his issues from qualifying.
Polesitter Coggan did not need to be asked twice, quickly establishing a three second lead to Mark Wakefield in second, managing his tyres and engine. Sadly for the DW Racing driver, a mistake took him over the Fogarty kerbs, loosening some of the bodywork under his bonnet. With the obstruction flapping against the floor, Wakefield caught and passed Coggan, now severely hampered with acceleration.
Simon Walton joined Wakefield at the front on lap eight, though was unable to keep up with the HSG Sport Volkswagen Golf. Wakefield built a lead if four seconds over the final two laps, snatching his second win in as many rounds. Simon and Owen Walton would complete the podium after Coggan slowed in the final corner, dropping to fourth.
The podium was just reward for Owen Walton, who had had to fight off Hankook Trophy protagonists Jack Depper and Russell Joyce as well as Lewis Smith. The Audi broke away in the final lap allowing him to catch Coggan on the run to the line, repeating the SlideSports double podium from Silverstone. In fact, rather like Silverstone it was again Jack Depper who collected the Hankook Trophy, fending off Joyce by only a handful of seconds.
Allum may have been disadvantaged at the start, but was not prepared to lay back, quickly working his way back into the top ten. Matt Evans had spent the first half holding off the weight hampered Martin Depper and co, as Allum took over the position of the aggressor. His pressure paid off, forcing Evans into a mistake at the Fogarty Esses, forcing the position at the hairpin. He crossed the line seventh with Depper following him through and completing the top eight.
Ninth would be Evans, as Tony Prendergast narrowly held on to the top ten despite a trip through the gravel on the final lap to avoid Lewis Smith. The Smith Motorsport driver dropped back from his fifth place battle on the final lap, eventually being collected by Jeff Alden at the hairpin. Smith would pit before taking the flag, but was classified twelfth as Alden retired with a broken front left wheel.
Eleventh would be Mark Steel for another strong result from the rookie as Michael Jones rounded out the order after Richard Gilbert was forced to pit.
The weekend will conclude with the second race on Sunday at 17:05.
Winner – Mark Wakefield:
“It has closed the championship a little bit. We got off to a cracking start. I thought I’d made the wrong tyre choice, putting old slicks on. They were pulling me in [as the race went on] and I thought I’d made the wrong decision. Eventually the car let up and we caught Josh. He had a slight problem, so we had a battle with him, taking the lead, driving away and keep the lead, which was a good result.”
Talking about his ballast he said; “We’ve got to take a look at it, I’m not used to having all this ballast, but you’ve got to take the hit. We have a new tyre for the second race, which will help us with the ballast, but it’s like having another person inside the car. It’s really hard around here, especially on the back straight up the hill. We’ve just to keep going and try our best.”
Hankook Trophy – Jack Depper
“It’s great to be up here, but you really want one of those trophies that says 1st, 2nd or 3rd. It was stunning to outqualify my dad [Martin Depper], and then in the race with him behind me, I thought it would get exciting, a family feud, but instead I was battling with Russell [Joyce], Lewis Smith and Owen Walton. It was all great racing, we kept it clean. Unfortunate to not see my dad out there, but we can’t all have what we want.”