Walton Champion as Clark Wins in Donington Decider
Owen Walton has been crowned the Volkswagen Racing Cup champion for 2019 after a calculated final race at Donington Park.
The race itself was won by Ru Clark, his first of the season, after dicing with Martin Depper, who was also in contention for the title. Walton’s main challenger Mark Wakefield was forced to start from the pitlane, needing to finish in front of Walton to clinch the title.
Starting from reverse grid pole, the title was Owen Walton’s to lose, especially with his closest rival Mark Wakefield being forced to start from the pit lane due to a technical issue he needed to mend before the start. The Audi TT had struggled off the line and was fortunate to only lose a single place to Martin Depper as a safety car halted action after two laps due to Mark Steel stopping on track.
As the race restarted, Depper was quick to break away, establishing a two second gap to the battling Walton, Ru Clarke and Josh Coggan. Knowing he could drop as far back as Wakefield, Walton didn’t resist, allowing the pair past. Clark used the free air to set fastest lap, chase down Depper, reenacting their Brands Hatch battle for a third time.
Fortunately for the 2018 vice-champion a mechanical glitch for Depper on the penultimate lap allowed Clark to pass him at the Melbourne Hairpin, taking his first victory of the year. Depper’s second place was not enough for the title as Josh Coggan took his second podium of the weekend in third.
Owen Walton failed to leave a weekend without podium silverware for the first time since Snetterton, but makes up for it by securing the biggest trophy of them all, as he cruised home to fourth.
Tony Prendergast recorded a fifth in order to secure fourth in the standings as Wakefield put in the drive of the weekend to jump from pit lane to sixth. The effort was more impressive after Simon Walton’s defensive prowess in the closing laps in order to help his son’s title bid. Wakefield would make it past, but only on the final lap, unable to hunt down Owen.
Richard Gilbert secured his first Hankook Trophy of the year with an eighth place finish, crossing the line just 0.177 seconds ahead of Russell Joyce with the recovering Rob Allum just behind that.
Rounding out the finishers would be Jeff Clark and Michael Jones, after a spin for Jeff Alden took him out of contention. Elsewhere, mechanical problems would see Jack Depper end his weekend earlier than anticipated.
Champion Walton said; “It’s surreal to be honest. It’s been a long six weeks, long weekend, I’m so relieved it’s over. After qualifying my head dropped a bit. We didn’t have a great race one, but it put us on pole for race two, which gave us the advantage going into the final race. It wasn’t the greatest of start, but I still managed to keep up the front.”
After a second place in race one, a win is the perfect way for Clark to end the season. He reflected on the battle with Depper saying; “Martin had quite a bit of pace but I eventually caught him. I got quite lucky as he missed a gear coming out the Loop, which was perfect. Six podiums in seven race which is a good season.”
Hankook Trophy winner Richard Gilbert; “I’m really pleased, I wasn’t expecting it after race one which was a shocker, spinning off at Craners. This race I was right in with the pack. I knew how important the race was to our championship leaders so I’m really pleased to be up there.