Wylie lies third and fourth respectively in UK and German Volkswagen Scirocco championships
Ross Wylie returned to Thornhill in the early hours of Tuesday morning mentally and physically tired having contested three races in two countries combined with an exhausting six-day 2,000-mile road trip.
The 21-year-old made an immediate impact in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup when the Scotsman set the outright fastest race lap in the opening round at Hockenheim on Saturday (4 May).
Forty-eight hours later, Wylie registered 11th and seventh positions in the two, 20-minute races at Rockingham near Corby, Northamptonshire, on Bank Holiday Monday (6 May) – Ross slipping from the joint lead of the series to third.
Racing against ex-Formula One “legends” Nicola Larini, Jan Lammers and Martin Donnelly, Wylie competing on the 2.84-mile Hockenheim track for the first time, recorded a fabulous 10th place overall – a highly impressive fourth in the “Junior” class.
Starting 17th on the 22-car grid, Wylie actually nipped ahead of Lammers for ninth place on the penultimate lap only for the experienced Dutchman, over twice the age of the young Scot, to demote Wylie back down to 10th overall on the final lap.
Wylie ultimately finished 14.479secs behind outright winner Larini but only a mere 3.198secs behind the Junior class winning car.
Incredibly, considering Ross had not previously visited the German Grand Prix circuit let alone driven on it, Wylie remarkably set the fastest race lap.
“I had a great time at Hockenheim. Perhaps at first glance the race result doesn’t look spectacular but I learned a lot about the car and scored some solid points which was important.
“Unfortunately qualifying was wet and we made a mistake with our strategy, setting my grid time when the track was at its wettest so starting 17th was never going to be easy to claim a top result with a field full of identical Volkswagen Sciroccos.
“Early in the race, another car hit me damaging my car’s wheel rim and front tracking which made the car difficult to drive but nevertheless made up places to finish 10th and bag the fastest lap of the race.
“I took away many positives from my opening Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup race – my first car race outside of the UK. I really enjoyed being part of such a high profile championship and the professional atmosphere and am really grateful to Volkswagen Motorsport for giving me the opportunity this season.”
Wylie left Hockenheim near Heidelberg at 9pm on Saturday evening and drove himself to Rockingham near Corby overnight, arriving at 10am on Sunday morning in time for him to qualify 11th on the 27-car grid later that day.
In Monday’s opening race around the 2.09-mile track, Wylie “locked-up” under braking and overshot a corner on lap three, dropping from 11th to 16th, although the Scotsman recovered to 11th at the chequered flag.
In race two, Ross moved up to ninth on the opening lap after starting 11th and was up to seventh by mid-distance but was unable to grab sixth despite a close duel to the flag.
“In the opening race at Rockingham I ran with 30kg ‘success’ ballast and had brake and electrical issues which severely restricted my pace, as well as causing a tardy start and the ‘lock-up’,” reflected Ross.
“The weight ballast was reduced to 10kg for the second race but the brakes were still an issue while the engine seemed down on power. However, it’s another two [UK] races under my belt so it’s all good experience.”
The next rounds of the Volkswagen UK Racing Cup is staged at Silverstone on 26 May followed by two races in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at Spielberg in Austria over 1/2 June.
* Editorial Copyright Photographs available on request