Volkswagen Racing Cup points leader Martin Rutherford is planning to stay a step ahead of his rivals next weekend (20/21 May) at Donington Park, venue for the third and fourth rounds of the championship.
Rutherford, 33, broke his duck last month, winning round two of the Hankook-supported series at Oulton Park after three seasons of near misses with his Citygate Volkswagen-backed Beetle.
‘Now I have had that first win I feel that I will be able to relax more in the races,’ said Little Chalfont-based Martin, ‘and hopefully that will mean I will be able to score points consistently throughout the year and win the championship.
‘I’m very optimistic about next weekend. My car was so much quicker than everyone else’s at Oulton that I’m hoping I’ll still have an advantage. Oulton and Donington were always going to be my best circuits, so I need to make the most of my opportunity.’
But Rutherford will face a major battle at Donington from his rivals, who are regrouping to get their title bids back on track. Heading the charge is Hertfordshire’s Paul Taylor, the first-round victor, whose four-wheel-drive Golf R32 will enjoy far superior traction if it rains.
Craig Inskip won in bizarre circumstances at Donington in 2005, his turbocharged Golf spinning backwards across the line for victory. After a disappointing start to his campaign at Oulton Park, the East Sussex man will be looking for a right-way-around win this time.
After finishing second last time out, Hampshire’s Martyn Culley is another likely frontrunner. However, he has more on his mind than motor racing, with wife Sarah due to give birth to their first child on race day. ‘I’m hoping she can hang on until after the weekend,’ said Vento VR6 racer Martyn, whose father, Barrie, also plans to be in action at Donington. ‘But I’ll be racing to the hospital if I get the call.’
Exeter’s Alex Dziurzynski will be out in his Corrado GTI, fresh from its best-ever Racing Cup finish – third – at Oulton Park, his bid supported by his Golf GTI-racing brother, Didge. Another Westcountryman, Rob Palmer, will be making his seasonal debut at the wheel of a Mk V Golf TDI.
There should be two new Golf GTIs at Donington for Mike Kurton and Steve Wood provided shakedown testing goes well, while the new Polo GTI, which was given its maiden outing at Oulton, will be out in the capable hands of Car magazine editor Jason Barlow.
Others to watch out for at Donington include Berkshire’s Joe Fulbrook, who made it to the podium last time with his turbocharged Bora; the newly appointed managing director of SEAT UK, Peter Wyhinny, who will be in action in the impressively quick Caddy TDI; and Beetle racers Paul Lloyd-Roach, Darelle Wilson and Tony Gilham.
Completing the field will be the Caddy of Giles Lock and Golfs of varying vintage for Europcar’s Michael McInerney as well as Tony Harberman, Jamie Turner, John Quartermaine and Andrew Smith.
The Volkswagen Racing Cup in association with Hankook enjoys the additional support of Augustus Martin, Castrol, ECM Vehicle Delivery, Europcar, Experian, Milltek Sport, Mondial Assistance, Proximity London, KW Automotive, Superchips, TNT Logistics, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Financial Services UK
– Volkswagen Racing Cup