Track: Donington National
Following races 7 & 8 at Brands Hatch, Lewis was 19 points behind in the Championship to James Turkington. Knowing how good Lewis can be on the Donington track, we felt that he could make up these points giving him the Championship and Essex & Kent Motorsport the team title.
Upon arrival at Donington we found that the team running J.Turkington (Ciseley Motorsports) had brought in a second driver Adam Morgan who races in BTCC and although the regulations clearly state that a new driver can not score points in the final round of the Championship, the organisers stated that he would be allowed to this weekend. As far as we were concerned, this was completely against the rules. Bringing in a second driver could take points off of Lewis and would certainly stop us winning the team title and could affect Lewis’s chances of the Championship. This was the very reason this regulation was in place but after receiving no support from TCR or the BRSCC we had to live with it.
Lewis put in some great times during qualifying but having success ballast of 48kg after his second place at Brands Hatch restricted his ability to put his car on pole, nevertheless he managed 3rd place and reduced the Championship gap by 2 points to 17.
Race 1: Starting 3rd on the grid, Lewis knew that he had to gain as many places as possible to narrow the gap in the Championship. Knowing that he could overtake through the Craner Curves he tried what had worked well in his September visit to the track, however, this time things did not go to plan and Lewis finished up on the grass rejoining in 10th place. From this position he again showed his true driving skill, putting in fastest laps whilst picking off his competitors one by one. At the end of the race he finished 3rd with the fastest time of 1:13.914 and again reducing the gap in the Championship, now down to just 11 points.
Race 2: Starting third he tried to make up places from the lights only to drop to fourth, dropping this place proved costly as although the driver in third was not in the Championship he continually blocked Lewis allowing Adam Morgan to pull out a lead.
On lap 12 Lewis made a bold move down the inside at Redgate to move into third place overall and 2nd in TCR, Lewis put in fastest lap after fastest lap again to close the gap over the remaining 9 laps only to cross the finish line 0.825 seconds off of a TCR win and the Championship.
While chasing down the leader Lewis set a new lap record of 1:11.356 making him TCR lap record holder at every single track raced this year and if Ciseley Motorsports second driver had not been allowed to score points as per the regulations, Lewis would have won the Championship by 3 points. A great year for Lewis and the team but spoilt in the end by the organisers bending the rules for financial gain.
Well done Essex & Kent Motorsport, the true champions of 2019.