OULTON PARK PREVIEW: Civic Cup ready for Summer Spectacular at Cheshire venue

The Milltek Sport Civic Cup reaches Rounds 5 & 6 of its 2023 season this Saturday, 10 June, as the official TCR UK feeder series heads to Oulton Park in Cheshire. A terrific 28-car entry will do battle around the 2.26-mile Island circuit.

With three different winners from four races so far this season, the championship remains wide open at this early stage, but it is Ben Sharpe Racing’s Jack Harding who currently leads the way. Harding has a win at Snetterton to his name and has never finished outside the top five in only his second season of front-wheel-drive racing.

Harding’s BSR team-mate Dan Macdonald, the well-travelled Scottish Highlander, is looking forward to competing on a circuit he has raced at before for the first time this season, as he aims to continue his forward progress.

Leading the chase of Harding is Motion Motorsport man Dan Thackeray, the only driver to have won twice so far this year. With victories at both Snetterton and Croft, will the Londoner be able to continue that run this weekend?

The 2021 champion, Alistair Camp, is third in the standings. Camp has been keeping himself in the hunt despite suffering a lack of low-end grunt from his motor. He hustled his Civic onto the podium at Croft last time out and was a winner at Oulton Park last year.

Camp’s Pro Alloys Racing team-mates include teenage starlet Will Redford and the experienced Ryan Bensley. Redford has proved himself to be among the fastest drivers on the grid, and scored a double-podium in the Snetterton season-opener, but his pace at Croft went largely unrewarded after a bruising opening race. Conversely, Bensley bounced back from a torrid Snetterton where he was beset by mechanical issues, to take a superb victory at Croft.

Currently fourth in the points, Morgan Bailey is another who got his title challenge back on track with two top-four positions in Rounds 3 & 4 of the championship. A pair of podiums at Oulton Park last year bode well for the MJB Motorsports driver who is seeking his first win of 2023.

Rising star Harvey Caton had a terrific weekend last time out in North Yorkshire. The privateer delivered on his promise with a maiden podium finish and so nearly made a move stick on race leader Dan Thackeray. It has catapulted him to fifth in the standings with that first victory now surely just round the corner. Caton also tops the Paul Winfield Trophy standings, for drivers without a podium finish to their names in the previous two seasons.

Multiple championship-winning squad Area Motorsport will have five cars in action this weekend. Currently leading the way, points-wise, is the experienced Danny Hobson whose best finish so far this season is fourth, although he qualified third at Croft. Former Mini racer Louie Capozzoli is just behind, having recorded a podium finish on his Civic Cup debut, and is second in the Paul Winfield Trophy points.

Perhaps the most likely of the Area Motorsport runners to taste victory though is Max Edmundson, having come agonisingly close in each of the first two weekends of the season. The Durham teenager’s pace has been terrific, and slightly tempering his enthusiasm could be the key to securing a breakthrough success.

The Goodyear Diamond Award, for drivers over the age of 40, is led by Mark Hughes heading into this weekend’s action. The FN2-shape Civics of DMR team-mate Dave Marshall, as well as Matrix Motorsport’s Jeff Alden (another Goodyear Diamond Award contender), provide variety on a grid where the EP3 model remains numerically dominant.

Look out too for welcome returns to the championship for Rhys Lewis and Chris Coomer. Lewis has been sidelined by engine trouble so far this season, while Coomer will make his first appearance since 2020.

The Milltek Sport Civic Cup action will be compressed into a single day at Oulton Park, with qualifying and both races set for Saturday (10 June). Grid positions for the opening race will be set during the qualifying session scheduled for 0945hrs. Both races take place in the afternoon, with the first at 1505hrs. The reversed-grid finale is timetabled to start at 1745hrs.

All Milltek Sport Civic Cup races are streamed live and can be watched on the championship’s official YouTube channel.

All the race action will be streamed live and can be accessed via the Civic Cup’s official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@civiccup7654

To find out more about the Milltek Sport Civic Cup, visit https://civic-cup.co.uk/ for more info and how to get involved.