Michael Epps has shown himself as a potential contender during the first weekend of racing in the Miltek Sport VW Racing Cup at Oulton Park. With both rain and sun during the weekend, the 23-year old leaves the meeting with valuable experience in all conditions despite some electrical problems. Learning more than expected about the car and series he plans to use all his newly acquired knowledge to come back and compete up front at the next races.
In one of eight cars racing under the Team-Hard banner, Epps began his weekend positively in Friday practice. With wet conditions all day he found his feet quickly, setting times similar to front-runners.
“It’s a totally different car to drive compared to what I’ve been used to so I know I will have to be patient as technique naturally comes”, he commented. “I’m surprised by the cars performance in wet conditions too; being front wheel drive I thought I wouldn’t have half as much grip exiting corners.”
Qualifying took place on a dry track on Saturday morning where Epps was able to come in with the 13th best time, however he felt like there was more to come from the #12 Team-Hard Golf Mk6. “I would’ve expected to do a little better than that. I’m not sure if there is boost issue or some other fueling related problem but it doesn’t feel right. I’m still improving myself too.”
Race One was an unfortunate encounter for Epps, making a good getaway to pass two on the first lap but coming off worse trying to pass another car late into Cascades corner. The rear of his car snapped round and he lost a lot of time, crossing the line 20th by the end. Even more unfortunate for Epps, Race Two is gridded from the result of Race One and so this meant Epps would have to start way down the field. He made better progress passing 6 cars to finish in 14th, but was still adamant there was a problem.
“We checked the car over but there weren’t any obvious faults, it’s only my third day in the car too so it is hard to tell what is wrong. Our speed trap figures are definitely down on what they should be.”
Team-Hard made their best efforts to resolve the problem before the final race of the weekend but in the hotter temperatures it appeared the problem had worsened further. Starting in 12th he managed to make two places early on but lost out late in the race to finish 11th. “It seemed as the race went on the car became more and more sluggish, so perhaps it is temperature related but we think it is electrical. We were something like eight or nine miles per hour down at some of the speed traps so it’s a huge amount to be losing. I think to finish where I did isn’t bad at all considering. I guess it’s back to the rolling road so we have everything set properly for the next one. I’m gutted we couldn’t fix it here.”
Michael sits down in 13th in the championship standings after the first weekend, but plans to test and resolve all problems before coming back in full swing for the next three rounds at Rockingham on the first weekend of May.