Promising Weekend Sees Kirby Leave Anglesey 2nd in TCR UK Standings
This weekend saw The Goodyear Touring Car Trophy Incorporation TCR-UK’s first visit to Wales’ stunning Anglesey circuit. Testing on Saturday was followed by Free Practice, Qualifying and 2 races on Sunday, it would prove to be an action packed weekend, with both highs and lows for the whole team.
Sunday morning saw a short Free Practice session open proceedings, and, as we’ve come to expect from Anglesey, it was damp and cloudy. This didn’t stop the drivers pushing, and at the close of the session, BTCC Development driver Jac Constable was 2nd in the timings, with Dan Kirby P4 and Will Butler P10.
Qualifying would start late morning, giving the track chance to dry out somewhat, and thanks to it being such a long lap, would give the drivers space to stretch out and put in a strong time. As always, the grid was tightly packed, with Kirby qualifying P4, despite being just 0.4s off Pole. Constable, who was carrying 60kgs of ballast thanks to his stupendous victory at Oulton Park, would end up P6, with teammate Butler less than 0.8s away in P8.
Race 1 would see Constable jump up the grid, before an early off at Turn One dropped him back down the order, necessitating a visit to the pits to remove a significant pile of grass from the radiator intake. Despite being a lap down at the midpoint, he would race hard to make up ground, eventually crossing the line P10.
Butler would also find himself, as prelude to the second race, driving well, working hard to keep the more experienced Jack Depper at bay, bringing the Rotec and FlipStick backed Leon Cupra TCR home P7 for another solid points haul.
Towards the front, Kirby was to find himself on the podium, a place he’s become familiar with throughout the season, bringing himself across the line in a strong P3, which would see him start Race 2 P4, after the somewhat confusing Reverse Grid Draw.
Despite starting at the back for Race 2, and carrying an additional 60kgs of weight, Constable would catapult to P6 by the end of the first lap, finding himself P3 on Lap 5. Contact from the rear would push the corner of his bumper into his offside rear wheel, causing him to slow, giving those behind him the advantage, dropping to P6 where he’d remain until the closing stages, eventually crossing the line P4, narrowly missing out on a podium.
Kirby would make a similarly impressive start, finding himself P2 on Lap 2 after winning a battle with the reigning champion, before fluids on the last corner on Lap 4 would drop him back down the field. Despite this, he would prove why he’s worthy of being a race winner, passing a large chunk of the field, including teammate Butler to cross the line P3, cementing him P2 in the championship as we head into the last round at Donington Park in a few weeks.
Butler was to drive one of the best races of his career, yet again holding Depper at arm’s length, passing both Kirby and Alex Kite during the mid-stages of the session, battling up to P4, which he held until the closing laps, when a component failure would cut his race short. Under hard breaking, the young rally driver would suffer a broken driveshaft, ending his run on the very last lap.
Dan Kirby – “It’s been a mega weekend for me. Obviously, I would’ve liked another win under the belt, but I was really pleased to come away with a double podium. It puts us in a really good place heading into the final round at Donington, and it shows the hard work put in by the team that we’re within touching distance of the title in our first full year in the series.”
Jac Constable – “It was a tough start to the weekend, as the weight we were carrying meant we struggled a bit in Qualifying. This meant it was a bit harder for us in Race 1, and I made a mistake into Turn 1, putting me right to the back after a visit to the pitlane to clean the radiator out. Race 2 was better, as despite starting from last we made up ground quickly, before damage inflicted by other competitors took its toll and meant I wasn’t able to get the best out of the car. Overall I’m happy to come away with some decent points from the last race, but overall I believe we can do better.”
Will Butler – “It was a bit of a frustrating weekend for me, mainly due to the famous Anglesey weather limiting my testing time on Saturday, meaning my set up knowledge was reduced going into Race Day. I felt like I struggled to connect with the car in both races, despite posting some strong lap times. Ultimately the mechanical failure in Race 2 cost me P4, which would have been a great points haul. Onwards and upwards.”
Martin Broadhurst – “Bit of a mixed weekend for us as a team with frustrations and results. Anglesey is a circuit that we don’t have a huge amount of knowledge of, Saturday’s testing was very limited and ultimately saw us rained off for the day. Qualifying pace was not quite there for us carrying maximum ballast, whilst racing saw Jac having to pit in race one due to an off , and then multiple contact in race two saw his weekend hampered. A frustrating driveshaft breakage for Will brought race 2 to an early end, however Dan had another double podium which sees him leave the circuit second overall, putting him within touching distance of the Championship as we head into the last round in a few weeks’ time.”