Belfast Telegraph

Colin Turkington takes penalty start to Knockhill

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington has a fight on his hands as he seeks to defend his British Touring Car Championship lead at Knockhill this weekend.

The Portadown driver, champion in 2009, leads the series by 23 points from Honda's Gordon Sheddon but he carries an eight-place grid penalty into the first of the three races at the hilly Scottish circuit following his collision with Matt Neal in race three at Snetterton earlier in the month.

Turkington had won the first two races but was deemed to have been at fault when his BMW hit the back of Neal's Honda.

He and his WSR team decided not to appeal the grid penalty even though it appeared Neal, Sheddon's team-mate, had braked earlier than usual for the corner.

"There were a lot of incidents similar to the one I was penalised for but I have to hold my hands up and admit I made a mistake," said Turkington.

"I was caught out by Matt as we entered the braking zone for the hairpin and had nowhere to go.

"Obviously the penalty isn't ideal but I have to accept the decision and take it on the chin. It will make things interesting at Knockhill but if I can qualify well and stay out of trouble in race one there is still the potential to score good points."

Turkington has a strong record at Knockhill, including two wins last year, but it is 2012 champion Sheddon's home circuit, the place where starting racing as a teenager and where he is based as business development manager.

Jason Plato is third but a further 20 points behind Turkington and the current champion Andrew Jordan is a distant fourth, 78 points adrift of the leader.

Meanwhile, Craig Breen was refused permission to start Rally Deutschland in the wake of the back injury he sustained during Rally Finland earlier in the month.

The FIA stewards ruled it would be unsafe for him to take part even though he insists he had followed all procedures and received medical clearance.

"I am bitterly disappointed by this decision," he said. "I feel great and I haven't any pain even after our pre event test in Germany this week but I must respect the stewards decision and move on."

In contrast Kris Meeke was in positive mood as he took part in the ceremonial start in Trier last night. He made just two runs through the pre-event shakedown stage, set the fastest time and then returned his Abu Dhabi Citroen DS3 to the service park satisfied it was in perfect shape.

His time was eventually beaten by Jari-Matti Latvala, Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen who made up to five runs over the stage.

Belfast Telegraph


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