Joe Fulbrook clinched the 2008 Volkswagen Racing Cup championship title at Donington Park today (Sunday), slithering to a 12th-place finish in the first of the day’s races at the wheel of his Warranty Direct-backed Bora. It wasn’t the triumphant podium finish with which Fulbrook might have liked to crown his championship glory but the points secured were enough to guarantee him the title.
Fulbrook was out of luck in race two also… The winners on the day were both debutant visitors to the top step of the podium: Golf GTI driver Mike Kurton, who drove brilliantly after choosing just the right type of Hankook tyre for the conditions in race one, and Corrado pilot Alex Dziurzynski, who led home his younger brother Adrian in race two for a family 1-2. Both races were outstandingly exciting, among the best of the British GT/F3 weekend, and were enjoyed by a bumper crowd.
The bright Donington sunshine misled many competitors into choosing slicks for the first of the day’s outings, but the very damp track failed to dry as expected. Among those caught out in addition to pole-sitter Fulbrook was Joe’s only rival for the title, Jamie Perry. The Bora of Fulbrook and Perry’s Golf GTI reversed down the order as the cars on full wets, or a slick/wet combination, rose to the fore.
Alex Dziurzynski, whose West End Precision Corrado started from third on the grid, seized the lead into Redgate corner, with Kurton’s BSS Pipelines-backed Golf dislodging Taylor from second before the first lap’s end. Behind, Adrian Dziurzynski was making mercurial progress from the back of the grid in the oldest car in the field; by the end of lap one the Mk II Golf was up to 10th and, within a further three laps, he had seized third from Taylor.
As Kurton bore down on Alex Dziurzynski for the lead, so Adrian and James Walker’s Golf GTI brought their battle for third closer to the frontrunners to make it a four-way dash for the flag in the closing stages. Alex held a slender advantage over Mike as they crossed the line to start the final lap, with James third and Adrian close behind for fourth.
Walker was very much a man on a mission, swooping past Kurton early in the lap to mount a major assault on Alex Dziurzynski for the lead. He tried his hardest at MacLeans only to find his attack repulsed by the determined Corrado driver. Kurton grabbed the chance to snatch second from Walker and then judged the final corner, the Goddards chicane, to perfection. He tucked in tight, selected a lower gear, and as his rivals scrabbled for grip on the outside, Mike put the power down and he sped across the line just under half a second clear of Alex.
‘I had no idea whether it was the final lap or not,’ said Kurton. ‘I was just praying that I’d see the chequered flag, and there it was. It was a stunning race; it couldn’t have been closer or more exciting.’ Alex Dziurzynski was ‘gutted’ to have missed out on his maiden win.
Walker’s decision to switch from turbodiesel to petrol power for the final meeting paid off with third ahead of Adrian Dziurzynski. James Griffiths drove well from 10th on the grid to fifth, just ahead of Tony Harberman, whose sixth-place finish was a best-ever result for his Golf VR6.
Taylor’s four-wheel drive made up a little for being on the wrong tyres; he placed seventh ahead of Martyn Culley’s Beetle, with Darren Blumson claiming an excellent and impressive ninth on his return to racing after six months away battling leukaemia. Perry had needed to win to have any hope of taking the title fight down to the wire, but 10th was the best he could manage on slicks, with Nick Dunn’s Beetle taking 11th, just ahead of Fulbrook and his RP Motorsport team-mates Paul Lloyd-Roach and Giles Lock.
Fulbrook was pleased to have wrapped up the championship title with a race in hand. ‘It’s taken us four seasons to get here,’ said Joe, ‘and I’m delighted for my team. We had good pace right from the outset in 2005, and in fact we had the championship virtually in the bag last year until it all went wrong at the final meeting, but until this year we lacked consistency, and consistency is what is needed to succeed in this series. I hope very much that I’ll be back to defend my title next year.’ Fulbrook won three races on his way to the crown and made a further five podium visits.
Joe had high hopes of a season-closing race win but it all went wrong on the startline for the final Donington race when Griffiths stalled his Golf and the cars behind it on the grid were forced into avoiding action. Several made contact; Fulbrook’s and Walker’s cars were too severely damaged to continue.
Through the melee came Taylor to lead, despite a broken four-wheel-drive system. ‘The car seemed to go OK with front-drive only,’ said Taylor, ‘so I just carried on and hoped for the best…’ Alex Dziurzynski was the man with designs on top spot, however, his Corrado dislodging Kurton from fourth on lap three and moving into third two laps later as he followed sibling Adrian past Harberman’s Golf.
Brotherly love went out of the window at Redgate on lap six when Alex pulled a brilliant move on Adrian to seize second. Taylor was 2.6s ahead at this stage but Dziurzynski rapidly narrowed that gap and, two laps later, when Taylor erred at MacLeans, Alex wasted no time in nipping through for the lead.
Taylor gave chase but his over-stressed Golf ran out of brakes at Redgate on the 11th lap and parked itself in the gravel. Harberman had suffered a similar problem and fate three laps earlier at MacLeans, which left the two Dziurzynskis and Kurton to sort out the podium between them.
This time there would be no denying Alex, who cruised to a six-second victory over his brother, his first win in six seasons of trying. ‘It’s fantastic to be standing here after all those races,’ he said, ‘and doubly brilliant to be on the podium with my brother.’
Perry was among those delayed by the startline shunt – he completed the first lap in 17th place – but Jamie fought back manfully to make it into the top 10 within three laps. He got the better of a superb battle with Liam Griffin’s Golf GTI to claim fourth at the flag, securing the championship runner-up slot into the bargain. Griffin finished well clear of John Quartermaine’s GTI for fifth and a strong end to a successful debut season of racing.
Lloyd-Roach, Dunn, Barrie Culley and Giles Lock completed the top 10, with Blumson, another held up at the start, placing 11th and pleased with his weekend. ‘It’s been great to get back to racing,’ said Darren. ‘It feels like I’ve never been away.’ Paul Wyhinny’s Polo and Griffiths – who made a pit stop to investigate braking problems – were the only other finishers in what was a race of attrition.
Championship third went to Taylor, whose gravel trap visit turned out not to matter after his rival for third spot, Beetle driver Steve Chaplin, went out of the race with mechanical problems.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook is additionally supported by Augustus Martin, Castrol, Ceva Logistics, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, KW Automotive, Superchips, Turbo Dynamics, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK.”