The TCR UK series will resume at Oulton Park this weekend for a one-day event in Cheshire, with WestCoast Racing’s Dan Lloyd looking to extend his lead of 82 points over Pyro Motorsport’s Ollie Taylor.
Lloyd has won seven of the season’s eight races so far, proving to be an unstoppable force in his Volkswagen Golf GTi. The Huddersfield racer would have had a 100% record too, if he hadn’t been penalised for contact with Taylor in the first race at Castle Combe last time out.
As impressive as Lloyd’s lead is, he can’t yet secure an unassailable lead in the standings. Taylor is 82 points adrift and, whilst seemingly a large gap, with 40 points available for a win and 11 for pole position it is far from determined that Lloyd will lift the title, with 273 still up for grabs. All Volkswagens also have to carry 60 kg of compensation weight, thanks to Lloyd’s run of wins.
Taylor himself has started to gel with his new Honda Civic Type R, evidenced by the fact that the Bury St Edmunds racer took pole position last time out, followed by his first win. His task will, however, be made slightly harder by having to carry 20 kg of compensation weight this weekend.
Both drivers will also face a stiff challenge from TCR UK newcomer Ash Sutton this weekend, with the reigning BTCC champion getting behind the wheel of Finlay Crocker’s new-spec Honda in Cheshire.
Whilst Sutton will have limited time to get up to speed in the car, and re-adapt to front-wheel drive racing after racing the rear-wheel drive Subaru in the BTCC, he is likely to be close to the sharp end of the TCR grid.
Elsewhere, Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman will be looking to add to their combined three podium finishes, as well as come out on top in their own inter-team and inter-family rivalry, with Andreas currently leading his sister by 50 points.
Lewis Kent will be aiming to add to his one podium taken to-date in his Hyundai i30 N, whilst Carl Swift heads into the event off the back of his maiden TCR podium last time out.
Derek Palmer also secured a season-best finish of fifth in the most recent race, albeit in a reduced grid, and will be keen to put the issues of the DPE Motorsport Alfa Romeo earlier in the year behind him in the second half of the season.
Palmer’s team-mate Robert Gilmour will also be hoping that the team’s issues are resolved, as he aims for a first race start of 2018.
Maximum Motorsport’s Stewart Lines will also be hoping for a new start, after he was disqualified for unceremoniously removing Jessica Bäckman from the last race.
But for series leader Lloyd, racing at Oulton Park represents something of a ‘home’ race, as he seemingly edges ever closer to the inaugural title.
“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in,” said Lloyd. “Hopefully the compensation weight won’t be as much of a disadvantage for us this weekend. The Honda will be running with 20 kg so that should help us out a little.”
“We need to keep the momentum going into the final rounds. I lost a win last time, so it’s made me more determined to push for pole and another clean sweep again.”
Qualifying takes place at 11:00 BST on Saturday, followed by race one at 13:55 BST and race two at 16:25 BST respectively.