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Two of last season’s Volkswagen Racing Cup frontrunners are to return to the championship for 2004 and have vowed to give reigning champion Rob Carvell a run for his money.
Both Craig Inskip and Ray MacDowall believe that their cars have the potential to score; Inskip’s turbocharged Golf Mk IV has been rebuilt from the ground up over the winter and boasts an extra 10bhp as well as gearbox improvements.
“The Golf is now bang on,” said 34-year-old Inskip, who missed out on a top-10 championship placing last year by a handful of points. “Two years of development work are beginning to pay off and, given some luck and reliability, we should be OK for top three in the championship.”
Inskip’s Becra-backed Golf will be prepared by CCi Motorsport and Grant Motorsport, alongside the Vento VR6 of championship returnee Grantley Woodhatch.
Another driver looking for better things in 2004 is Ray MacDowall, who will return with his ECM Vehicle Delivery Service-backed Beetle.
Last year Ray and the Total Control Racing team experimented with a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine but it was not a success; the Beetle will revert to 2.8-litre V6 power for 2004. “We didn’t get a lot of joy with the turbo,” said Ray. “The plan is to go back to the V6, work on reliability and consistency, and see what happens. Hopefully that way we can get a good championship result.” MacDowall took third overall in the championship in 2002 but slumped to eighth last year.
The driver both must beat is reigning title holder Rob Carvell, who returns with a new car, a Scirocco.
The 2004 Volkswagen Racing Cup, which gets underway at Donington Park on 4 April in support of the British F3 and GT Championships, looks set to be the most competitive yet.
“We have already received quite a number of registrations from drivers returning for another season and also from new names,” said Sam Roach, Volkswagen Racing UK managing director.