Epps streaks ahead in Spa qualifying


Michael Epps blitzed his Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup rivals at Spa-Francorchamps this morning to secure pole position for this afternoon’s ninth round of the championship. His Team HARD Golf GTI lapped the 4.3-mile Belgian Grand Prix circuit in 2m 44.090s – seven-tenths of a second ahead of the pack and a whopping 2.2 seconds inside last year’s qualifying best.

It was a remarkable session for Team HARD, with Epps’s team-mate Howard Fuller second quickest and Bobby Thompson a season-best fourth overall. There was a promising showing also for BTCC racer Andy Wilmot, seventh fastest in the new Team HARD Passat.

“It’s a bit fast here today,” said Spa first-timer Epps. “Spa is one of those tracks which suits me. Brands Hatch is similar and we were testing there last week and made a few changes to the car, a lot of cornering set-up adjustments, and we found some really good improvements. The car feels really good – all credit to Team HARD – and I got an absolutely magnificent tow from Bobby Thompson too, so it’s largely thanks to him.”

Championship leader David Sutton was third quickest despite his SlideSports Scirocco carrying an extra 100kg of ballast since its May Silverstone win. David was encouraged by his performance: “I am happy with that. We can race well from third on the grid.”

Lucas Orrock, who won at Spa last year for KPM Racing, qualified fifth and was pleased also: “I won here from third on the grid so I can at least hope for a podium finish. We’ve made a big step up since yesterday’s testing, and that is encouraging, but there is no way I could find another two seconds and challenge for pole…”

Wilmot, seventh fastest, said: “I like the Passat but there is a lot more work to do on development yet. It has to be set up like a touring car and at the moment it’s not, it needs a lot more rear stability, but overall I am happy because despite the development needed we are still in the top seven.”

Simon Andrews showed great pace to qualify 11th, just shy of his AWM/Safe & Sound team-mates Aaron Mason and Joe Fulbrook, with 16-year-old Damani Marcano setting 14th-best time in his Team HARD Golf. There was disappointment for Laura Tillett: engine-related problems prevented her from setting a time in her new SlideSports Golf.

The first of the weekend’s two Spa races follows at 2.35pm local time.

Provisional qualifying times Spa-Francorchamps 10 July 2015
1 Michael EPPS Team HARD Golf 2:44.090
2 Howard FULLER Team Hard Golf 2:44.706
3 David SUTTON SlideSports Scirocco 2:44.930
4 Bobby THOMPSON Team HARD Golf 2:45.232
5 Lucas ORROCK KPM Scirocco 2:46.147
6 Jack WALKER-TULLY Cooke & Mason Scirocco 2:47.002
7 Andy WILMOT Team HARD Passat 2:47.401
8 Simon RUDD Team HARD Golf 2:47.650
9 Aaron MASON AWM Golf 2:47.864
10 Joe FULBROOK Safe & Sound Golf 2:47.998 etc

Full times

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