British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington glad to remain in mix after tough day
It was a damage limitation exercise for British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington at Thruxton, Britain's fastest race circuit.
Having won for the first time for his new BMR Volkswagen team in the previous meeting at Donington, Turkington was wary of how the front-wheel-drive car would handle the high speed sweeps of Thruxton. Only eighth fastest in qualifying, his approach was to stay out of trouble and pick up points in the fight to defend his title.
And he was more than satisfied to finish the day still in second place in the standings.
Starting from the fourth row of the grid, Turkington finished seventh in race one, fifth in race two and then fourth in race three. It was Gordon Sheddon who won race one from his Honda team-mate Matt Neal with the Mercedes of Adam Morgan third.
Race two saw Turkington's BMR team-mate Jason Plato take a record 90th BTCC victory after a fierce duel with the BMW of Rob Collard. Sheddon was third.
In race three it was the Mercedes of Morgan which led all the way to win ahead of the Honda of Andrew Jordan and the BMW of Sam Tordoff with Turkington a close fourth. It meant the two-time champion from Portadown left Thruxton still second in the series, eight points behind Sheddon but ahead of Neal and Plato.
The Thruxton rounds saw Martin Donnelly make his BTCC debut amid controversy. The Ulsterman, whose F1 career was ended by an horrific crash during practice for the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix, took over the Infiniti Q50 of the Support Our Paras team from Richard Hawken who only discovered he had ousted on social media.
Donnelly, who has been racing in the Lotus Elite championship with his son Stefan, refused to comment but his debut did not go well. He missed qualifying because of a power steering issue and, from the back of the grid, was 20th in race one, 18th in race two and 23rd in the final race.
At the Bishopscourt circuit in Co Down, Turkington's younger brother James finished in second place in the first Seat Supercup race to be staged in Ireland. Victory went to Niall Quinn with John Farrelly taking third place.