Wakefield Wins Opening Race to take Title Fight to the Finale
The title fight will go to the final race as Mark Wakefield dominated the opening VW Racing Cup Donington Park event. The Cheshire-born Golf driver will go into the finale just two points behind Owen Walton’s Audi TT.
Mark Wakefield, from third on the grid, knew a win was essential for having a fighting chance of the title. After scything past Ru Clark and Josh Coggan on the opening lap, the Mark Wakefield Racing with HSG Sport driver quickly built a comfortable gap up front. He would only cross the line 0.125 seconds ahead of Clark though, after a lock up in the final corner saw the pair cross the line side by side.
Clark had been left to dice it out with Coggan for most of the race. The battle had damaged the JW Bird Motorsport Scirocco, whose rear bumper flew off in the final five minutes. This would not hamper the 2018 runner-up though, setting fastest lap and making the most of a mistake for Coggan to clinch second.
Further back Martin Depper was working his way back through the field after losing positions on the opening lap. Simon Walton initially ran fourth, knowing that keeping Depper behind was beneficial to his son’s title fight, though fell off in the latter stages, giving up his place Owen in the closing stages.
Depper took fourth to ensure he’s only 16 points behind O.Walton going into the final race as Tony Prendergast worked his way past the title leader to finish fifth. The Walton’s were sixth and seventh as Mark Steel took his second Hankook Trophy as he finished eighth.
Steel had initially been battling with Jeff Alden until a tangle on the second lap saw Alden and Russell Joyce retire. This left Jeff Clark and Richard Gilbert to round out the top ten, one of his best results of the season. Rounding out the finishers were Michael Jones and Rob Allum who was forced to pit after running inside the top five.
Speaking after the race, Wakefield said; “We got a fairly decent start and Josh [Coggan] did a good job of holding the field back. Good race as I was up-front all the way through. The last couple of laps were really close for me. The tyres and brakes were really hot, but we managed to do it in the end after I locked up in those last few corners.
“Ru was alongside on the Melbourne straight, so I had to anchor on the brakes into the chicane and defend as much as I could and pulled a slight gap. However, I almost lost it all by locking up and running wide onto the grass. It’s closed the championship right up, to get it down from 14 points, to 2 points now, it’s absolutely brilliant.”
Hankook Trophy winner Mark Steel: “It was strange old race. We had a mechanical issue in testing, so last night had a word with; myself, mentor David Fairbrother and driver coach Rob Allum. You come with your game face on, concentrate and I just drove as hard as I could. I did have a big spin up at McCleans which took Jeff Alden out, so I feel a bit bittersweet because Jeff would have kept me honest.”
Going into the final race; Walton – 444 ; Wakefield – 442 ; Depper – 428