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Colin Turkington's British Touring Car Championship hopes extinguished by risk of fire

By Sammy Hamill

Published 09/05/2016

Bubbling over: Tour of the Sperrins winner Marty McCormack is showered in champagne by his co-driving niece Caron
Bubbling over: Tour of the Sperrins winner Marty McCormack is showered in champagne by his co-driving niece Caron

Former champion Colin Turkington sat out all three races of the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton because of the threat of his Team BMR Subaru Levorg catching fire.

The team took the unprecedented decision to withdraw all four Subarus after qualifying following a fuel line failure on the car of James Cole at the previous round at Donington caused it to burst into flames.

Changes had been made for Thruxton but an inspection after qualifying showed renewed signs of fatigue and it was decided not to risk it on safety grounds.

Turkington was disappointed but agreed with the decision. He said: "Safety is the most important thing. The guys at BMR Racing did an incredible job in building these cars from scratch and this is just a small hurdle."

It was a disappointing day too for Daniel Harper who had been the star of the UK Ginetta Junior championship at Donington, where he won for the first time. The Dromore student struggled in qualifying on the fast Hampshire circuit, finishing 15th and 11th in the two races.

Meanwhile, it was a home win for Marty McCormack on Saturday's Tour of the Sperrins. Fifth and the top Ulster finisher on the British championship Pirelli International the previous weekend, the Draperstown driver was back in the familiar forests of Glenshane, Banagher and Davagh to score a first Northern rally championship victory in his S2000 Skoda Fabia, finishing 22 seconds ahead of stablemate Derek McGeehan in a WRC Mini.

McCormack, with his young niece Caron co-driving for him for the first time, had been locked in a close battle with Desi Henry, who beached his R5 Skoda on stage seven.

He held off McGeehan to record the first NI championship win for an S2000 car. Derek McGarrity, winner for the past two years, was third on stage times in his WRC Ford Fiesta but fell to 41st after being penalised 10 minutes for failing to start the first stage "when instructed".

A late entry, he had been listed at No.76 but moved to No.1 as is traditional for the previous year's winner and was reportedly unhappy at having to run first.

Michael Carbin was third in his Mitsubishi, with Niall Devine fourth and first in the production category in his Subaru. Shane McGirr won the two-wheel-drive division in fifth in his Toyota Starlet.

Manus Kelly, driving an S12 Subaru for the first time, won the Irish National championship Carlow Rally by 10 seconds from the WRC Ford Fiesta of series leader Roy White.

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