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Turkington is gunning for more Oulton Park success

 

By Sammy Hamill

It was just coincidence, of course, that BMW chose to hold one of their Driving Experience days at Oulton Park last week, but it was perfectly timed for Colin Turkington.

He covered numerous laps with BMW owners in the passenger seat of an M235i and this weekend he is back at the leafy Cheshire circuit again, his knowledge of the tight, twisty track refreshed ahead of a trio of British Touring Car Championship races.

Not that the two-time champion from Portadown had much more to learn about Oulton Park. It is his favourite circuit and one at which he has won seven times in the past.

"Down the years I've had some great results at Oulton Park and I really enjoy the challenge it presents. And the Driving Experience day was good fun and good practice ahead of Sunday's races," said Turkington, who currently sits third in the Championship standings behind Toyota's Tom Ingram and Honda's Gordon Sheddon.

He brought up a landmark 100th BTCC win for BMW at Thruxton a fortnight ago and will look to build on his personal tally of 43 victories this weekend.

"Confidence is high at the moment in the West Surrey team after the good results we have been having and Oulton traditionally suits rear-wheel-drive cars like the BMW but nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is easy in the BTCC and anyone can be on the pace come the weekend," he cautioned.

"Podiums and even a third win of the year has to be the main aim."

Turkington is joined on the grid by Carrickfergus driver Chris Smylie, who scored his first point for the Ulster-owned Norlin Chevrolet team at Thruxton.

In action, too, are Charlie Eastwood, who leads the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series, and Daniel Harper, second in the UK Ginetta Junior Championship.

Eastwood scored back-to-back wins in the previous two rounds at Brands Hatch and renews his duel with reigning champion Dan Cammish, who is currently second in the points race.

Harper, the 16-year-old rookie champion from Hillsborough, will be aiming to stay away from the circuit edges this weekend after penalties for exceeding the track limits at Thruxton cost him one and possibly two victories in the highly competitive Ginetta series.

Adam Carroll is straight back in action this week in Paris for round six of the electric car FIA Formula E Championship. The former A1GP champion and his Jaguar team continue to struggle and are still chasing their first podium finish.

It is, of course, Jaguar's first year in the electric-powered series and the techniques of driving the cars is all new to Carroll and his New Zealand team-mate Mitch Evans.

Poor qualifying performances have left them fighting from lowly grid positions on street circuits where overtaking is difficult and hazardous.

Meanwhile, Kris Meeke was an encouraging fourth fastest in shakedown ahead of last night's ceremonial start to Rally Portugal.

The Citroen driver, returning after two major crashes in Argentina, was less than a second off the pace set by Hyundai's Dani Sordo ahead of Sebastien Ogier (Ford) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota). Craig Breen was 13th quickest.

Belfast Telegraph

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