NEWS RELEASE 13 SEPTEMBER 2015
Aaron Mason claimed the second Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup championship title of his seven-year track career this afternoon, an eighth-place finish in the double-length final round enough to secure the crown ahead of Lucas Orrock and season-long points leader David Sutton.
Michael Epps won the race, ahead of his Team HARD running mates Simon Rudd, Robert Barrable, Howard Fuller and Bobby Thompson.
Mason’s championship win was as unexpected as it was pleasurable for 35-year-old Doncaster driver Mason and the AWM Motorsport team. Having been fired out of the lead of the first Donington race by another car, and with his Scirocco’s rattles and bangs growing increasingly insistent as the 40-minute marathon neared its conclusion, Aaron was more relieved than delighted to see the chequered flag.
“I was suffering fuel surge, the tyres were gone, the driveshafts rumbling…” said Aaron. “I was driving a very careful race because I could see other cars getting penalties for track limits, and then it was just a case of managing the car to the end. It just got me home – I’m not too sure how many more laps it would have managed.
“I’m well chuffed. I’ve only won one race this year because we’ve struggled with pace. The only time we’ve done OK is when there hasn’t been too much weight on the car. We’ve spent a lot of the season carrying 50kg and finishing fourth or fifth, and not managing to get the weight reduced. That took its toll in the mid part of the season.
“But it’s all come down to the end, and I suppose that David Sutton had to have some bad luck at some point having been so dominant. It happens to everyone in motorsport – it happened to me this morning when I got taken out. When that happened I thought it was 100 per cent over for me, so it’s amazing to be standing here now as champion.”
Mason’s sole race win came at Brands Hatch in August, but his season-long podium habit kept him in good stead. Aaron is, with 21 career VW Cup victories, the ‘winningest’ driver ever in the championship, but he says he’s not tempted to come back to try to match the three championship victories scored by his friend and team-mate Joe Fulbrook: “I think we’ll leave Joe that glory.”
It was a day to forget for David Sutton, the winner of four races in the season’s first half and the championship leader from Round 1 up until today. Like Mason, Sutton was fired off in the first race and, though he came back well from a P24 start slot to finish race two in 12th, there was just not enough momentum for the SlideSports Scirocco driver to carry him to the title win. Sutton slips to third overall in the championship standings, behind Mason and KPM Scirocco man Lucas Orrock.
The final race was all about Team HARD, whose pole-sitting driver Rudd sped away from the blocks in fine style, pursued by outgoing champion Joe Fulbrook in the Safe & Sound Golf and with Fuller, Philip House (PH Motorsport Scirocco), Jack Walker-Tully (Cooke and Mason Scirocco) and Epps in hot pursuit.
Fulbrook was fading by the sixth lap, however, and Epps – despite carrying 60kg of success ballast – moved up to second and quickly closed on to Rudd’s tail. Michael seized his opportunity to take the lead into the Melbourne Hairpin on lap 12. Said Epps: “I noticed on the first couple of laps that Simon was braking a tad earlier there, so I thought that if I was going to do him anywhere it would be there. He didn’t move over too much so I went for it…”
Rudd was far from beaten, though, and kept Epps honest all the way to the line, even though Simon’s mirrors were full of Barrable’s Golf. Robert drove a storming race from the back of the grid – a legacy of his first-race exclusion – to hit the top 10 by the third lap. It took the Irishman a further eight laps to battle up to third, and he was on to Rudd’s tail soon after. But Simon was more than a match for Robert’s moves, and he held on to second to claim his maiden podium finish.
Epps, Rudd and Barrable crossed the line after 40 minutes of action separated by 1.1 seconds, with Fuller and Thompson close behind for a memorable top-five lock-out by Team HARD. Victor Epps said: “It was a great race and a great battle – it makes all the difference when you are racing your team-mates. When you look in the mirrors and all the cars behind are from Team HARD, it’s such a moment of pride. To come through like this is just phenomenal. My tyres were finished by the end – down to the canvas!”
Added a delighted Rudd: “It was great fun… Honestly the best fun I think I’ve ever had.”
Third-placed Barrable: “I had a great car at the start, which was good because I had a lot of overtaking to do to get up there to the front as quickly as possible in case anyone made a break.”
Lucas Orrock was the first Scirocco man home, sixth to confirm him as championship runner-up for the second year in a row. Said Lucas: “It’s been a good year and we’ve done well to get back to second in the championship. I think I’ve shown that I’m a very consistent driver – we were there fighting for the title in the final race and that says a lot. In general I’m happy.”
Walker-Tully, penalised five seconds for exceeding track limits, finished seventh ahead of Mason and House, with Joe McMillan’s Cobra Engineering Scirocco completing the top 10. Fulbrook was next up ahead of Sutton and Damani Marcano, 13th despite a drive-through penalty and a 10-second penalty for exceeding track limits. Mark Smith (InFront Scirocco) and Phil Morris (KPM Golf) rounded out the top 15, with Tim Snaylam (AWM Scirocco) finishing 16th to claim the Sportsman’s Trophy.
Provisional results Round 16 Donington Park 13/9/15
23 laps / 57.21 miles
1 Michael EPPS / Team HARD Golf 40m 21.704s
2 Simon RUDD / Team HARD Golf +0.596s
3 Robert BARRABLE / Team HARD Golf +1.103s
4 Howard FULLER / Team HARD Golf +3.738s
5 Bobby THOMPSON / Team HARD Golf +6.020s
6 Lucas ORROCK / KPM Scirocco +13.750s
7 Jack WALKER-TULLY / Cooke & Mason Scirocco +14.486s
8 Aaron MASON / AWM Scirocco +15.201s
9 Phil HOUSE / PH Motorsport Scirocco +18.320s
10 Joe McMILLAN / Cobra Engineering Scirocco +19.737s etc
Fastest lap Barrable 1m 43.907s / 86.17mph
Sportsman’s Trophy Tim SNAYLAM / AWM Scirocco
Provisional final championship standings
1 Mason 524 points; 2 Orrock 520; 3 David Sutton 518; 4 Walker-Tully 504; 5 Joe Fulbrook 498; 6 Epps 470; 7 Fuller 444; 8 House 438; 9 McMillan 406; 10 Thompson 356 etc