Win and Double Podium for PMR at Oulton Park in TCR
This Saturday saw Round 4 of the Goodyear Touring Car Trophy, which took place at a scorching Oulton Park. The format for the day was to differ slightly from the previous round, with the sole Free Practice session, Qualifying, and two sprint races all taking place during the single day event.
The event would see the normal Power Maxed Racing TCR-UK stalwarts of BTCC-Development Driver Jac Constable, Dan Kirby and Will Butler joined by former TCR Europe race winner, Alex Morgan. Morgan is no stranger to PMR, having joined the team for the final round of 2019, scoring a double podium in the process in his Megane RS TCR’s first outing on British soil.
Despite starting just before 9am, temperatures for Free Practice were already well into the 20s. This didn’t stop the drivers going out and pushing hard, starting as they meant to go on. By the close of the 15 minute session, PMR drivers had locked out the Top 3, with Constable topping the times, narrowly followed by Morgan and Kirby. Butler would finish the session P6, despite being just 2/10ths of a second away from P4.
A short time later, and with temperatures threatening to his the 30s, the full grid headed out for what would be a frenetic 15 minute Qualifying session. At the close of the session, Morgan would seize Pole for Race 1, despite carrying 30kgs of new driver ballast, with teammate Constable just 2/10s behind, with both drivers the only ones to break the 1:27 barrier. Butler and Kirby wouldn’t have quite the same luck, but brought their Leon Cupra TCRs back P6 & P7 respectively.
Race 1 would kick off just after lunch, with the sun high in the sky and temperatures now in the 30s. Morgan would make a great start, but thanks to the extra weight would be unable to hold off teammate Constable, who would make a fantastic move at the mid-point of the race to pass his teammate. Despite a power steering issue in the closing stages, he would eventually take the chequered flag more than 9 seconds ahead of Morgan, securing the Fastest Lap in the process, who fought a valiant battle with the championship leaders to hold position and take P2 at the finish.
Slightly further back, Kirby was unable to capitalise on his win at the last round, being stuck in the mid pack for the majority of the session. He would eventually finish P6, scoring valuable points to keep his place in the championship. Butler had driven well to hold P8 for almost the entire race, before brake fade on the penultimate lap put him out of contention for the finish.
Race 2 would see the customary Top 6 Reverse Grid, meaning Kirby would start from Pole, with Morgan and Constable P5 & P6. Morgan would make a fantastic start to bag himself P2 by the close of the opening lap; a position he would hold, despite valiant attacks from the Hyundai of championship front runner Max Hart, until he took the flag, securing himself a 4 from 4 podium record in TCR-UK Kirby would not be so lucky, after a number of wayward moments saw the former race winner unable to retain the lead, eventually finished the session P4.
Constable would, again, put in a sterling effort, finding himself P4 by Lap 3, with a turn of speed that promised another podium, barring anything going wrong. Unfortunately, the power steering issue that plagued him in Race 1 returned, necessitating him pulling off the road and restarting the car. Despite this, he still managed to bring the car home P11, securing himself the coveted Sunoco Fastest Driver of The Weekend Award.
Butler would battle hard with the VW Golf TCR of Jack Depper for the majority of the session, eventually crossing the line P8. Unfortunately, a 5-second penalty for track limit infringements would see the former rally driver, who is enjoying his first ever season of circuit racing, drop down to P10.
Jac Constable – “It’s been a great weekend on the whole! I’m really happy with how Qualifying & Race 1 went, and I’m glad that as a team we’ve managed to extract the time from the car that we knew it was capable of. The power steering issue which reared its head in Race 1 was frustrating, although we still manged a win, but when it popped up in Race 2 I had no choice but to stop and restart the car. Overall though, it’s been a great weekend, and I think it shows how much the team have really pushed me forward, so I’d like to say a massive thank you to them.”
Alex Morgan – “I was really happy to be back out racing in TCR UK and with PMR. Given the limited time we had to prepare for the Oulton Park race weekend, I am delighted with the results we achieved. Pole position in qualifying carrying the new driver weight was certainly the highlight, but to get two podium finishes with 2nd place in both races was a great end to the weekend. We’ve learnt a lot about the car, the setup and strategy in the two days we had, and we’ll be looking to come back stronger and faster at Donington Park to finish off the season.”
Dan Kirby – “Whilst I’m a little frustrated I didn’t bring home more silverware, overall I’m pleased with the results from Saturday. What matters is we brought home a decent points haul, and I’m still in the Championship fight with a couple of round to go.”
Martin Broadhurst, Team Manager – “It was great to see both Jac and Alex on the podium at the same time, and, for us as a team, shows that all the hard work we’ve been putting in behind the scenes is really paying off. It was unfortunate that neither Dan nor Will got the results they wanted, but they drove well. It feels like Oulton Park is our second home at the moment, following the BTCC Tyre Test there last week, and the upcoming rounds next weekend.”