Didge Dziurzynski and Richard Walker claimed the victory honours in the Snetterton rounds of the Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook today (Sunday), but there were dire problems for championship leader Joe Fulbrook, whose Bora crashed out of the running and who sees his points advantage cut virtually to nothing as a result…
Dziurzynski battled to a well-earned victory in round seven, demonstrating that his ‘new’ Mk IV Golf GTI has quickly found race-winning pace. The result was all the more satisfying for Dziurzynski as his team had had to work overtime to repair a broken exhaust after Saturday’s qualifying.
Dziurzynski had claimed pole by three tenths of a second from the Scirocco of Liam Griffin, with Steve Chaplin’s Beetle – winner of both rounds of the Hankook-backed series at Rockingham earlier in the season – promoted to third spot after James Walker’s Golf GTI was found to be underweight. Championship leader Joe Fulbrook lined up fourth in his Warranty Direct Bora Turbo.
At the green light it was the familiar sight of Paul Taylor’s four-wheel-drive Golf R32 powering up the grid that set the agenda for the early part of the race, the Hertfordshire driver moving through from the third row to run side by side with Dziurzynski into the first corner, Riches. Their fight for the lead continued right through to the Esses, where Taylor was able to sneak ahead to lead at the end of the first lap, with Dziurzynski, Chaplin and the Golf of Richard Walker in close order behind.
Never less than half a second behind Taylor, Dziurzynski launched a definitive attack on lap four, swapping the lead with Taylor before nailing home his advantage as they crossed the line. There was no room for complacency, however, as Taylor, Chaplin, Richard Walker and Fulbrook were all right on the pace, joined by James Walker, who had cut through the field from last place to be challenging for fourth spot by the end of lap five and who was looking a hot prospect for a podium result. There was no such joy for his father, who spun as Fulbrook moved to pass at the end of the Revett Straight, dropping from fourth to eighth.
It proved a frustrating race for Liam Griffin, dropping from second on the grid to sixth by the end of the first lap and then suffering a driveshaft failure on lap 12. He managed to nurse his Scirocco home 11th.
With a clear track ahead of him, Dziurzynski pushed out an early lead of little more than a second, with the chasing pack engaged in a thrilling display of driving that signalled any of the top six could emerge the ultimate winner. With Walker senior falling back from the fray on lap six, James raised his challenge to press Taylor for third place, making it through in a gripping move through Riches and Sear on lap eight.
Fulbrook was next to loom large in Taylor’s mirrors, the reigning champion’s Bora running side by side with the Golf almost the entire course of lap nine. Fulbrook just had the advantage crossing the line, but as Taylor repassed, the cars touched. Taylor was able to continue, but Fulbrook’s car was too badly damaged.
Out front, Dziurzynski was able to extend his lead to around four seconds as the 20-minute race moved into its second half. The contest behind him remained as gripping as ever, with Chaplin, delayed by lapping backmarkers, fending off huge pressure from James Walker. Taylor, meanwhile, minus a front airdam, had fallen off the leaders’ pace and was passed by Richard Walker on lap 14.
At the chequered flag Dziurzynski was almost 3.5 seconds clear of Chaplin, who claimed second less than three tenths ahead of James Walker. Richard Walker held fourth, with Aaron Mason’s Golf shading Taylor for fifth over the line by just three hundredths of a second. Anna Walewska equalled her best result of the season so far, finishing seventh in her Golf GTI, with Michael Kurton, Peter Lettinga and Kieran Griffin rounding off the top 10. Dziurzynski also had the distinction of setting a new lap record.
‘We set the car up really well for this circuit,’ said Didge, ‘but did not really think about a win as Steve (Chaplin) and James (Walker) were also going very strongly. If it wasn’t for the backmarkers holding Steve up, I’m sure he would have been right up with me.’
Added Chaplin: ‘I thought we had it sussed but really Didge would have needed to have made a mistake for me to have had a chance to win.’
Round eight was a race of attrition with only 12 classified finishers from the field of 19, with Richard Walker claiming his first win of the 2009 season.
Pole sitter Paul Taylor put his Golf R32′s four-wheel drive to good use at the green light to keep the field at bay into the first corner, but he proved unable to resist the challenge of Mason, who snatched the lead briefly at the start of the second lap, only to run wide through Sear and see James and Richard Walker move ahead.
The two Golf pilots soon pulled out a healthy lead when Taylor was sidelined from the action at the end of lap two with a broken steering rack, the possible legacy of some eye-catching kerb riding. At the same time Anna Walewska was making the first of two visits to the pits, her Golf suffering handling problems after being hit from the rear at the start.
Through laps three and four, the Walkers held first and second with the chasing pack narrowly led by Mason from Chaplin, Dziurzynski and Liam Griffin. On lap five brake overheating problems began to dog Dziurzynski’s progress, and he fell back to sixth behind Griffin’s Scirocco, who in turn was soon challenging Mason for fourth.
Demonstrating that blood ties count for little when it comes to racing, Richard Walker was hot on his son’s tail as the pair crossed the line on lap six. But the prospect of a family battle royal came to an abrupt end as Walker junior suffered a driveshaft failure exiting Sear on lap seven.
Richard inherited a healthy lead, with second-placed Chaplin busy fending off a sustained attack from Liam Griffin. The Beetle prevailed in a side-by-side charge into lap 10 and the two remained inseparable until Griffin spun in attempt to gain the advantage going into the Esses. Meanwhile Dziurzynski had recovered from his earlier problems and was able to overhaul Chaplin for second on lap 12, only for his brakes to surrender on the final lap, letting his rival through for second at the chequered flag, claiming fastest lap of the race en route.
Michael Kurton finished fourth in his Scirocco, ahead of Liam Griffin in fifth and Dutchman Peter Lettinga’s Beetle in sixth. Tim Snaylam made up for the disappointment of failing to finish the first race of the day by bringing his Golf home in seventh, while Peter Wyhinny’s Caddy van was cured of its earlier overheating problems to take eighth. Barrie Culley’s venerable Vento VR6 held ninth after a race-long tussle with the Golf of Paul Wyhinny.
‘We had a lucky start as Paul Taylor went wide through Sear and James got through with me tucked up right behind him,’ said Richard Walker. ‘It worked very well for us. It was the first time we had been in this position and it was a tragedy that James lost out because of a driveshaft failure. When that happened I just had to keep it going – I was not the quickest car out there but it helped me that the rest of the field were busy fighting among themselves.’
Steve Chaplin: ‘The race was going swimmingly well until Liam Griffin started catching me. He was making good ground on me but he outbraked himself and spun at the end of the back straight going into the chicane. But of course that opened the way for Didge, who was soon all over me and I made a few mistakes. He managed to get past on the back straight but then on the last lap his brakes went and I was through.’
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook is additionally supported by Augustus Martin, Ceva Logistics, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, KW Automotive, Superchips, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK.
- Volkswagen Racing Cup