Colin Turkington said he would “fight to the finish” in his efforts to win a third British Touring Car Championship in the season finale at Brands Hatch.
And so he did.
But even pole position and victories in two of the three final races at the Kent circuit yesterday weren’t quite enough. He missed out in the final race of the year as Gordon Sheddon retained the title.
Turkington had started the day in seventh place and 37 points behind leader Sam Tordoff but he made his pole position pay off as he drove away from the field to win race one. And he did the same in race two despite his BMR Subaru Levorg carrying maximum ‘success’ ballast.
It allowed Turkington to close to within 10 points of the championship lead but the reverse grid for race three saw the Portadown driver starting from seventh place and, again with maximum weight, it was a hurdle too high.
He was swallowed up in midfield as reigning champion Sheddon came through to finish in third place to claim the title for Honda for a second year in a row, edging out the BMW of Tordoff. Turkington, however, finished as the most successful driver of the year with five wins, bringing his BTCC total to 41.
Earlier Charlie Eastwood, already assured of the £50,000 bonus prize as rookie champion, won his first Porsche Carrera Cup race outright and with a podium finish in race two he finished third overall in the series behind Dan Cammish and Dino Zamparelli.
Meanwhile, Niall Murray dominated the Martin Donnelly Trophy at Kirkistown on Saturday, qualifying on pole position, winning his heat and going on to take a clear victory in the final in his Van Diemen.
Murray, the new British national champion from Dublin, won by over six seconds from teenager Jordan Dempsey with Ryan Campbell in third.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton turned on his Mercedes team after his bid for a fourth F1 World Championship was hit by another engine failure.
Hamilton was on course to cruise to the 50th victory of his career in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix and move clear of his sole rival Nico Rosberg in the championship race.
But with 15 laps remaining, Hamilton’s engine blew up to hand victory to Daniel Ricciardo whose team-mate Max Verstappen followed him home, with Rosberg in third to move 23 points clear of Hamilton.
“Something or someone doesn’t want me to win this year,” Hamilton said. “We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me.
“My questions are to Mercedes. We have so many engines made for eight drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year. Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable.”