Michael Epps bagged yet more points and a podium finish at the latest rounds of the Volkswagen Racing Cup at Snetterton last weekend. With some of the closest and most exciting racing of the year, the Hertfordshire driver showed his determination, fighting tooth and nail for every position, and came home a seventh and third place finish.
Running on the 300 circuit, Qualifying on Saturday produced mixed feelings for Epps, where he was unable to place his iRacing/RCIB/Team Hard Racing Mk5 Golf any higher than ninth on the timesheets but had the knowledge he was running an extra 60kg of ballast due to winning the previous round at Brand Hatch three weeks before. It was certainly hampering his performance around the +2 minute lap and being just under a second from pole position, things were looking positive overall.
“The car just feels somewhat sluggish”, he commented after. “It’s to be expected when running the extra weight, but I think we can work around it a little more with some setup changes. It’s a long lap though and I think we would’ve been right up there without the weight onboard.”
Starting ninth for Race One, Epps held position at the start. He looked to move forward straight away but a lengthy fight with championship contender Aaron Mason halted his progress too much to move any further forward than seventh by the end, just missing out on the reverse grid (top 6). “I felt just slightly underpowered compared to a few of them”, said Epps. “I was all over the back of them on corner exits but then couldn’t tow them down the straight to pass. They pulled away slightly so I had to just dive in on them last minute under braking to get through. Once I was free I was catching the next pack like crazy, three or four more laps and I think I could’ve had a shot.
Starting seventh for the final encounter of the day, Epps got another good start making one place into turn one. The following laps would feature a scrap worthy of BTCC coverage. After swapping places several times while trying to move forward, he was pushed off onto the grass by another driver. Having lost several positions, Epps got things back together quickly to charge right through to third place by the end with the two leaders several seconds ahead.
“It was such an eventful race. Everyone seemed to want to play bumper cars from the start and I ended up being shuffled back a bit, so I decided to fight back harder and sure enough was able to pick them off. I think some damage was done to the tracking on the way through as the car felt very unusual on the last few laps. I’m dead happy to grab a podium out of that scenario though, I thought my race was done once I was pushed off.”
After taking home some more valuable points, Epps looks forward to the final rounds at Donington Park on 12-13 September.