Castle Coombe - 19th June 2010

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Picture re-produced with kind permission of VF Racing

Pre Race

Darren was looking forward to Castle Coombe as it is one of his favourite circuits to spectate at. The crowds are always large and the racing full of excitement. He also completed his ARDS test here.

On the car front little work needed completing between Snetterton and Castle Coombe with some basic maintenance taking place (fluids, brakes etc.). The only major alteration was the fitment of a standard Subaru exhaust as the noise monitoring is very strict there and the car was showing 105db at Snetterton so it was thought better to err on the side of caution.


Picture re-produced with kind permission of VF Racing

The track conditions were dry and the weather warm and sunny for the qualifying session. With the size of field there were numerous Mazda MX5’s and Toyota MR2’s to contend with.

There was not much space for a clear lap and Darren suffered from traffic on every fast lap attempt. The session was curtailed with a red flag when an MR2 dumped a load of oil on the track at Tower corner.

A disappointing and frustrating session saw a lowly grid position of 14th place. Darren had some work to do in the race as the other Subaru Cup cars of Martin White and a flying Adrian Howells were in front of him.

Race 1

Darren had a reasonable start getting the better of Luke Bennett in the Integra. However there were no further opportunities on the run up to Quarry as Martin White had been blocked by slower starting cars in front which in turn blocked Darren

Darren was on the tail of Martin White and Rob Jefferies, in his mk1 MR2 Turbo. Martin soon dispatch Rob with a lunge into the Esses on lap 3. However Darren could not find a way past until lap 7 into Quarry with a bold move the led to a fine drift being held!

With Martin White long gone Darren only had to contend with Luke Bennett in his Integra who was pressing for most of the race but failed to find a way past even with some brave braking into Bobbies.

Results –

Overall – 8th
Subaru Cup – 3rd

Race 2

A better starting position for Darren after some competitors fell by the wayside in race one. Martin White’s bad luck struck again with a puncture on the way to the grid meaning he could not take the start. This left a nice gap beside Darren and only people ahead to contend with.

From the start Darren managed to get alongside the Nissan of Steve Burke but his monster AP brakes saw him take Quarry ahead. Rob Jefferies had a couple of nibbles on the first lap but did not manage to take the position.

Darren was now in 6th position and a large gap developed to Rob Jefferies and Stuart Hutchinson’s Integra behind. However after 5 laps the gearbox oil started to overheat leading to difficulties changing gear and some missed gear changes ensued.

Hutchinson’s Integra gradually reeled in the Impreza and on lap 7 Hutchinson gained the place into Quarry, but was not handed it on a plate with Darren pressing him on the outside to the Esses.

The rest of the race was a mixture of Mazda and MR2 lapping which ended with Darren taking 6th position.


Overall – 6th
Subaru Cup – 2nd


A disappointing weekend for Darren who expected some better results than he obtained. There appears to be more work to do in getting the car on Adrian Howell’s 2010 pace. Darren misses the next round at Lydden due to holiday commitments and will be working hard to get the car faster at Cadwell in August.

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About Darren Hughes

  • Darren has previously helped prepare racing cars for his friend Karen for the MR2 Challenge and Nippon Challenge series. This will be his forth season in racing having successfully completed three years with excellent results in 2010 and narrowly missing out on the title. In 2012 Darren was forced to take a break from racing due to budget constraints but this year he will be competing again in the same race series, sponsored by Arden Bridge Subaru and will be looking to take the top step of the podium regularly.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Darren's preparations and his progress throughout the season.

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