Belfast Telegraph

Confident Turkington ready to power up his championship defence

 

Positive thinking: Colin Turkington believes he can get his championship hopes back on track at Donington this weekend
Positive thinking: Colin Turkington believes he can get his championship hopes back on track at Donington this weekend

By Sammy Hamill

It might not have been the start to his British Touring Car title defence that Colin Turkington had hoped for but it was just the beginning of a long season, three races out of 30.

He finds himself back in 13th place in the 2019 standings, 30 points behind early leader Josh Cook, despite the opening rounds being at Brands Hatch where he clinched the title for a third time back in October.

But then he was on board a 1 Series BMW and now his West Surrey Racing team have switched to the 3 Series, and Turkington admits it is taking time to adapt as he prepares for Donington on Sunday.

"I left Brands Hatch not feeling at one with the car," he said. "I had a strong result in qualifying on Saturday but the weather rained on our parade on Sunday.

"However, we took a good step forward at the Thruxton test last week with the aim to get the 3 Series a bit more user friendly and more suited to my driving style. We're moving in the right direction and I go to Donington with more confidence and a stronger base set-up than I had at Brands."

The Portadown driver is also encouraged by the fact that team-mate Andrew Jordan recorded a first victory for the 3 Series.

"He showed what the car is capable of," added Turkington.

And it is very much the same story for Chris Smiley who saw his BTC Racing team-mate Cook win the first race of the year while his Honda Civic ended up being nudged into the barriers.

It put Smiley on the back foot for the rest of the day, although he recovered superbly in race three to claim seventh place from 20th on the grid.

Two of Ulster's young rising stars, Daniel Harper and Jack Young, will also be in action at Donington this weekend.

Harper, just 18, already leads the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series after a dominant win in race one at Brands followed by a podium finish in race two.

Young, even younger at 17, sits second in the UK Renault Clio Cup championship after two second place finishes.

Meanwhile, the second 500 Club race meeting of the season takes place at Kirkistown tomorrow featuring rounds three and four of the Dawson-WAM Formula Ford Championship and the Kirkistown saloons in a full programme.

Alan Davidson was a double winner in his Mondiale in the first two FF1600 rounds with David McCullough having to settle for runners-up positions in both races in his Van Diemen. They will resume their duel tomorrow.

Stephen Traub heads the saloon contenders in his Honda Civic but he will be joined on the grid by the GT class 2.8 Ford Escort Silhouette of hillclimb champion Gerard O'Connell.

In Argentina, Kris Meeke was third fastest in the shakedown ahead of last night's ceremonial start to round four of the World Rally Championship.

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