Turkington escapes pile-up to claim record 12th victory
Colin Turkington confirmed his acknowledged role as King of Croft with a record 12th British Touring Car Championship victory at the north Yorkshire circuit yesterday.
On a weekend when the BTCC series saw one of its biggest ever accidents with a 12 car pile-up during qualifying on Saturday, Turkington emerged unscathed to take second place in race one and then finish first in race two.
It was the Portadown driver's third win of the season and moved him to third in the points table, 12 points adrift of leader Gordon Sheddon and just one behind his West Surrey Racing BMW team-mate Rob Collard.
Turkington said he escaped the qualifying pile-up "more by luck than good judgement" but Dublin driver Aron Taylor-Smith was one of three drivers airlifted to hospital. He sustained a broken leg while Jeff Smith and Luke Davenport were moved to the intensive care unit although their injuries are not considered life threatening.
In the first race yesterday, Turkington and Ash Sutton battled from the starting lights to the chequered flag, never separated by more than half-a-second, but it was the Subaru driver who crossed the line first. Race two was a repeat only this time Turkington squeezed in front from the start and held Sutton at bay.
Starting from the fifth row for the reverse grid third race, Turkington climbed to sixth as Sutton won his second race of the day. With Sheddon failing to win any of the races, the BMW duo of Collard and Turkington will be happy to go into the summer break right on his tail.
Happy, too, will be Chris Smiley, the Chevrolet driver from Carrickfergus taking his best result to date in 13th.
But it turned out to be a disappointing weekend for Daniel Harper who slipped from second to fourth in the UK Ginetta junior championship. For once he didn't make the podium in any of the three races.
The 16-year-old from Hillsborough was second fastest in qualifying but started race one from ninth because of a grid penalty carried over from the previous round and could get no higher than seven.
Despite starting on the front row for race two, it didn't go any better and he found himself shuffled down to sixth as Sebastien Priaulx won for a second time in a row. In race three Harper was challenging for fourth on the first lap when he was nudged onto the grass, falling behind the leading pack and could only recover to eighth place. Championship leader Tom Gamble took the win.
Disappointment, too, for Adam Carroll who finished 14th and 16th for Jaguar in the two FIA Formula E rounds in Berlin.
Meanwhile, Kris Meeke was well on his way home by the time Ott Tanak won Rally Italia for Ford yesterday, the young Estonian's first World championship win. He comfortably held off the Toyota of Jari Matti Latvala with Thierry Neuville finishing third for Hyundai to narrow the gap to Sebastien Ogier at the top of the standings. Ogier finished in fifth place behind the Toyota of former Circuit of Ireland winner Esapekka Lappi.
With Meeke long gone after crashing out of the lead on Friday, Andreas Mikkelsen was the top Citroen finisher in eighth with Craig Breen back in 25th after his gearbox dramas on Friday. Rob Duggan finished with a flourish, setting fastest WRC3 time on the final power stage but had to settle for 27th overall after his Fiesta was hampered by broken driveshafts.