Belfast Telegraph

I will give my all to regain crown, vows Turkington


New partner: Chris Smylie
New partner: Chris Smylie
Hands on: Colin Turkington (right) is battling Ash Sutton for title glory and insists second place simply isn’t an option

By Sammy Hamill

Brands Hatch is where Colin Turkington won his first British Touring Car Championship race back in 2003 and where he clinched the title in 2009 and 2014.

The Kent circuit is also where he finished the 2016 season with back-to-back wins, although by then a third Championship was out of his reach.

But it is within his grasp this weekend as the Portadown driver heads into the final round of races second in the standings, just 10 points behind leader Ash Sutton.

Second, Turkington asserts, is not where he intends to finish on Sunday evening.

For him it is all about winning, just as he has done 44 times in his BTCC career, and if he needs an extra incentive to increase that total it has to be the sight of Sutton sitting top of the table in a BMR Subaru Levorg, a car Turkington gave up to return to West Surrey Racing and their BMWs.

He claims he has no regrets about the switch, describing the WSR team which guided him through his two previous title-winning seasons as his "second home".

"When it comes down to it, you have to have complete belief in your car, your ability and the team," Turkington said.

"The volume of work and resource that has gone into the BMW this season fills me with confidence and this can only improve our chances."

One of the most unflappable drivers on the grid, Turkington admits it is hard not to get excited about this autumn showdown.

"The buzz about this weekend is incredible and I'm raring to get going. Once we arrive at the circuit on Friday it's game on and I can assure you I will be giving it everything I have.

"I've enjoyed some fantastic races around Brands Hatch throughout the years. Clinching both my titles were life-changing moments and last year's double win was also a pretty memorable one too.

"Now I want this more than ever and I feel I've worked harder than ever. We've busted ourselves day in and day out to be in this position and I can assure you there is only one result on my mind.

"There isn't one doubt in my mind about any of this. I know we can do this. Second place is not an option for me."

No doubt Sutton feels the same. He is the driver of the season in many eyes, a six-time winner, but he is a comparative rookie in BTCC terms and how he holds up under the pressure of a title shoot-out with the experienced Turkington may decide the outcome.

Chris Smylie, another rookie, will be looking to finish his first full touring car season on a high after achieving his first top-10 finishes for the Northern Ireland-owned Norlin Chrysler team at Rockingham and Silverstone.

The three touring car races, plus Charlie Eastwood's bid for the Porsche Carrera Cup and Daniel Harper in the UK Ginetta Junior series, will all feature in the live ITV4 coverage on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Steven Kane, Jonny Kane and Andrew Watson are all in action in the final round of the Blancpain European GT3 Endurance Championship in Barcelona this weekend, Watson and Jonny Kane with the Strakka McLaren team and Steven Kane leading the Bentley boys.

Belfast Telegraph


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