Andy Wilmot became the 10th different TCR UK winner in 13 races this season after fending off Jac Constable in a sensational second race at Donington Park.
The Jamsport Racing Hyundai driver led from pole position to claim his first series victory, while the action was almost non-stop throughout the 21-lap encounter.
That action had big ramifications for the championship battle, as Restart Racing’s Chris Smiley was eliminated on the first lap, while his main title rival Isaac Smith also had an up-and-down run in his Volkswagen Golf. from Race Car Consultants.
Behind Constable, Race 1 winner Adam Shepherd capped off a strong weekend in third place after overtaking the Hyundai of Bradley Kent.
Having secured the reversed grid pole courtesy of finishing 10th in the opening race, Wilmot maintained his lead early on as Smith jumped from fourth to second as the field reached Redgate.
Behind, chaos ensued as Jamie Tonks’ Cupra touched the rear of Shepherd, who in turn hit Smiley’s Honda at Redgate, forcing Smiley out of the race.
That incident, plus Smith’s second place finish, was enough to give Smith the provisional lead of the standings, but the VW struggled to keep up the pace and his race ultimately unraveled in the closing stages.
Wilmot, avoiding the action from behind, quickly built up a 1.576s margin over Smith, with Max Hart’s Hyundai in third after overtaking Shepherd and Bruce Winfield at Redgate.
Unfortunately for Hart, mechanical drama struck once again when a suspected tow link issue forced him out before the halfway mark.
On the same lap, Lewis Kent also slowed down with a problem in the race through Craner’s corners, bunching up the chasing duo of Matthew and Darelle Wilson. Darelle Wilson’s Vauxhall Astra TCR flipped Matthew Wilson’s Cupra in a wild spin on the grass and into the barriers, with the incident also causing damage to Darelle forcing him to crash into the barriers at Old Hairpin.
Smith then began to fall into the clutches of Constable and Bradley Kent, with Constable grabbing second place in the final corner. Kent then perfected an excellent move back out of Coppice to take third, but Smith battled through the inside of Redgate before slipping side by side through the Craners.
That brought the Hyundais of Shepherd and Alex Ley into the mix and on the next lap Shepherd was pushed into the side of Smith by Ley at McLeans, forcing Smith through the gravel and taking damage to the rear.
The damage would eventually slow Smith down so much that he fell behind newcomer George Keler and Tonks on the final lap.
Such was the drama throughout the field that Heler’s standout performance was almost forgotten as the endurance specialist secured a sensational seventh place finish in his second TCR UK outing.
Smith held on to finish ninth, with the Audi RS 3 LMS TCR of Darron Lewis rounding out the top 10.