Belfast Telegraph

Colin Turkington makes the podium but spins away chance at front

 

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington moved to within two points of the lead in the British Touring Car Championship but he will have left Snetterton last night frustrated that he isn't top of the standing after missing out on a near certain win.

On a weekend when his fellow Ulster drivers Daniel Harper and Charlie Eastwood were on the top step of the podium at the Norfolk circuit, Turkington had to be content with a second and third place finishes as well as healthy helping of points.

The two-time champion from Portadown looked sure to win the first of the three BTCC races when he powered ahead of the Honda of pole-sitter Jack Goff and began to open up a gap. One of the best front runners in the series, he seemed on his way to his fifth win of the season.

But suddenly his BMW caught the edge of the track and spun across the grass, allowing the pack to stream past and dropping to 11th. He recovered to finish seventh as Ash Sutton took the win for Subaru, and although it put Turkington on the back foot, he showed his fighting spirit by charging up to second behind Sutton in race two.

Starting from seventh on the reverse grid for race three, he again fought his way into a podium place as Honda's Gordon Sheddon won to regain the championship lead.

Eastwood took advantage of the absence of champion Dan Cammish to move into the lead in the GB Porsche Carrera Cup series but he, too, will have regrets. The Belfast driver looked on course for a double winning weekend after taking victory in the first of the two Snetterton rounds and then leading race two yesterday.

But, under pressure, Eastwood was caught out under braking and ran wide in the corner which allowed Dino Zamperelli to nip past.

Teenager Harper scored back-to-back wins in the UK Ginetta Junior Championship on Saturday and led the third race again yesterday. But in a hectic battle in which a six-strong leading group were pushing each other off the track an on to the slippery grass, Harper found himself shuffled down to fifth place.

Meanwhile, Niall Murray took a firm grip on the Dawson-WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford championship with back-to-back wins at Kirkistown on Saturday.

Closest challenger Kevin O'Hara seemed on his way to victory in race one until a safety car period closed the field up and Murray nipped past to snatch the win in race then, having led until the final lap, O'Hara was forced to retire his Van Diemen, allowing Murray to take his second win.

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