Troubled day but Turkington salvages crucial series points
They had such high hopes in the build-up to the weekend but Oulton Park proved a trying track for Colin Turkington and his fellow Ulster drivers Charlie Eastwood and Daniel Harper in the British Touring Car Chjampionship.
They have all been winners this season but they left the Cheshire circuit last night without a victory between them and only Eastwood making the podium with a third place in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
The misfire which had hampered Turkington's BMW during qualifying on Saturday returned with a vengeance in the first of the three British Touring Car races yesterday. He got as high as third during the opening laps but the car lapsed onto safety mode and he faded to the back of the field, finishing 29th as team-mate Andrew Jordan took his first BMW victory.
Despite the West Surrey team being unable to cure the misfire, Turkington clawed his from 29th up to 13th in race two, which was won by Subaru's Ash Sutton, and in a typical fighting performance the Portadown driver saved a potentially disastrous day with fifth place in race three, smoke seeping from the BMW's ailing engine as he crossed the line.
Gordon Sheddon's win for Honda took him to the top of the BTCC standings with Turkington down from third to fourth but it could have been much worse.
Eastwood was one of nearly a dozen drivers caught up in a mass accident at the start of the first Porsche race and was then tagged by Dino Zamparelli on the re-start, spinning his Carrera off the track. He recovered to finish sixth as Dan Cammish won and the reigning champion took the second race as well ahead of Zamparelli with Eastwood, who was a double winner at Brands Hatch, third to maintain his championship challenge.
Young Harper was in the wars, too, in the first of the Ginetta races, his car being lift off the ground as it was squeezed from both sides at the start and he had to head for the pits. After repairs he returned to track but could only finish 17th.
On pole for race two, 16-year-old Harper made a poor start, dropping back to seventh place on the opening lap. He fought back to finish fifth as a dominant Sebastien Priaulx took his second win of the day.
Meanwhile, Craig Breen was again the top Citroen driver in round six of the World championship in Portugal. The two-time Circuit of Ireland winner finished in fifth place as World champion Sebastien Ogier won for the M-Sport Ford team, his second victory of the season, ahead of the Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.
For Kris Meeke it was another disastrous rally, the 2016 winner eventually finishing 18th after he had clipped a tree and broke the rear suspension of his Citroen. He had led briefly during the Friday leg but another mistake cost him and the team dearly as his season continues to go downhill despite winning in Mexico.