MARK Wakefield endured mixed fortune during the Volkswagen Racing Cup’s opening round but a surge up the order reminded everybody he knows how to overtake.

The Northwich driver had to start a second race at Oulton Park, his home circuit, from the rear of the grid after retiring from the first one.

He was fourth when the checked flag fell.

“It’s more fun coming through traffic!” he quipped.

“I seem to produce my best when I’ve more to do, and it feels rewarding to get a good result after having to work for it.”

And the 21-year-old from Weaverham had to repeat the trick after an initial charge from 17th up to ninth counted for nothing when an accident involving Brett Smith, a victor in race one, prompted an abandonment.

Wakefield made rapid progress when the race was restarted, remaining calm after another on-track incident, this time when pole-sitter Dan Crossley's Scirocco spun, saw the safety car deployed ahead of a sprint to the finish.

Northwich Guardian:

Mark Wakefield's Golf makes progress up Clay Hill at Oulton Park during the first Volkswagen Racing Cup round of the campaign on Easter Monday. Picture: Matt Sayle Photography

“I crossed the line side-by-side with the guy that was third,” he said.

“Another lap and I would have been on the podium.”

He took comfort from setting the fastest lap of the race in a Golf prepared by HSG Sport.

The Kingsley-based outfit has joined forces with Wakefield for an independently-funded entry in 2019 after Team HARD Racing, who ran the car last season, quit the series.

Meanwhile the former karting ace had posted his best qualifying result in the morning after setting the fifth best time.

He then inherited fourth place in race one before the lights went out after Lewis Smith’s Scirocco developed a fault during the installation lap.

Wakefield held station until a clutch fluid failure prompted him to pull into the pits with less than five minutes to go.

He had spent the most part trying to close a gap to Simon Walton’s Audi TT in front.

Northwich Guardian:

Mark Wakefield, from Northwich, in contemplative mood at Oulton Park on Easter Monday

“I could have continued but that risked damaging the gearbox which is new,” he said.

“I couldn’t afford to do that and so it was the right thing to stop.”

He told the Guardian a points-haul from race two is a foundation on which he can build when the season resumes at Snetterton next month.

And his car should be faster be then too.

“There is plenty of development planned between now and then,” he said.

“I’m hopeful we’ll close a gap on the quickest guys and that would represent another step forward given we haven’t had the time that we’d like to make improvements.”

Brett Smith (Scirocco) and Owen Walton (Audi TT) were the two race winners.