Belfast Telegraph

Seconds count as Turkington boosts lead

By Sammy Hamill

Newly-wed Colin Turkington gave himself the perfect wedding present by increasing his lead at the top of the British Touring Car Championship as the series resumed at Snetteron in east Anglia.

The former champion from Portadown, who used the opportunity of the BTCC's summer break to marry his fiancée Louise, didn't win any of the three rounds yesterday, but two second places and a hard-fought third took him 23 points clear of closest rival Gordon Sheddon and 56 ahead of Jason Plato.

It was multiple champion Plato who won the first two races in his Triple Eight MG, but each time Turkington's eBay Motors BMW shadowed him as Sheddon could only manage seventh and third places.

In a frantic race three, which featured a reversed top 10 grid, Turkington battled his way through to third behind the VW of Dubliner Aron Smith and the Ford of Mat Jackson. Plato was fourth and Sheddon fifth.

Turkington had been in fifth place when his BMW appeared to touch the back of Matt Neal's Honda, sending it into a spin.

The incident was the subject of an investigation by the race stewards last night and if they deem he was at fault, it could result in a penalty for Turkington.

Andrew Watson, who has been added to the BDRC Rising Stars scheme, slipped to third place in the Ginetta SuperCup series after a disappointing weekend at Snetterton.

The young Donaghmore driver lost his second position in qualifying for exceeding the track limits and after the clutch failed on the warm-up lap, he could only finish ninth in race one.

Watson, who led the championship earlier in the season, was then seventh in race two.

Meanwhile, former winner Trevor Willis took a double helping of British championship points from a wet, slippery Craigantlet hillclimb, the only round of the series held on this side of the Irish Sea. Willis in his OMS was fastest in both top 10 run-offs to close within four points of leader Scott Moran.

Moran, the hill record holder, was off the pace this time and admitted that good sense was the better part of valour in the treacherous conditions.

Will Hall was second fastest in his Force Nissan with Wallace Menzies third in his DJ Firestorm.

Seamus Morris was the leading local driver in his Pilbeam.

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