Belfast Telegraph

No victory but champion Turkington piles up the points to grab top spot

 

Productive day: Colin Turkington has moved to top of the standings
Productive day: Colin Turkington has moved to top of the standings

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington did what he has done so often - accumulated points in the British Touring Car Championship.

He wasn't able to win any of the three races at Thruxton yesterday but the defending champion from Portadown still moved to the top of the championship standings, jumping from third to joint first alongside Honda's Rory Butcher.

On a day when his West Surrey Racing BMW team-mate Andrew Jordan won twice, Turkington had to settle for fourth place in race one, a close second in race two, which gave him a 10-point lead at the top of the table, but then a disappointing ninth in race three from 10th on the reversed grid allowed Butcher to close the gap.

Turkington had been fourth fastest in qualifying and maintained his position all through race one as Jordan surged through to overtake the Hondas of pole man Sam Tordoff and Dan Cammish.

In race two Jordan, who had been involved in a heavy accident in the previous meeting at Donington, led all the way but with Turkington locked to his rear bumper.

"The car was great but when I got close to Andy it would affect the balance and I was never going to risk spoiling a great one-two finish for the team," he said.

"That was my 400th BTCC race as well so it's nice to round that out with a podium."

Josh Cook won the third race, his second victory of the season for the BTC Honda team, but Turkington got mired in the midfield battle and could make little progress as Butcher and Subaru's Ash Sutton battled for the top three positions.

Cook's team-mate Chris Smiley had another tough day, showing great pace but losing out in incidents in the first two races. But he finished strongly, climbing to 11th, just two places behind Turkington.

Former champion Graham Thompson edged out current championship leader Richard McGimpsey to pick up his first win of the season in the Millers Oils Northern Ireland hillclimb series at Knockagh.

Both set their fastest times as the road dried out late in the afternoon, Thompson in his GTR Turbo squeezing ahead on 45.04 seconds to the 45.94 of McGimpsey in his RMG Special. Another McGimpsey, Ryan, was third a further second back in his Jedi.

Gerard O'Connell, the 2018 champion, and Chris Houston, the hill record holder, were non-finishers as McGimpsey maintain his position at the top of the standings.

Meanwhile, Cathan McCourt made it back-to-back wins to move into the lead in the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship with victory by just over a minute in the Donegal round.

The Tyrone driver, partnered by Barry McNulty, led all the way his R5 Ford Fiesta to win the Bundoran-based event from the Mitsubishi Evo of Niall McCullagh with Conor McCourt, Cathan's brother, taking third place in his R5 Fiesta.

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