Belfast Telegraph

Relieved Turkington remains on top after drama

 

Colin Turkington
Colin Turkington

By Sammy Hamill

A relieved Colin Turkington left the Knockhill circuit in Scotland last night still leader of the British Touring Car Championship, although his lead in the series has been slashed to 10 points.

But it could have been much worse. At one point it looked like he was going to be displaced at the top of the standings by his West Surrey Racing BMW team-mate Andrew Jordan, who won for a sixth time in the second of yesterday's three races.

It was the same race which almost scuppered three-time champion Turkington's hopes when his BMW was spun into a gravel trap and although he managed to get back on track, the Ulsterman could only struggle to the finish in 19th place and out of the points.

Jordan's victory allowed him to slash Turkington's advantage from 30 points to just four.

The Knockhill weekend had started well enough for the Portadown driver when, despite his BMW carrying maximum success ballast, he qualified sixth fastest and went on to finish fourth as Scot Rory Butcher edged out Jordan.

But with his Honda now weighed down with 54kg of ballast as the race one winner, Butcher was quickly overtaken by Jordan and Dan Cammish in race two.

Turkington went past too but as Butcher tried to fight back his Honda collided with the rear panel of the BMW, sending it spinning into a gravel trap. It was a move which saw Butcher hit with a five-place grid penalty for race three but that was of little consolation for Turkington, who had to start from the 10th row of the grid.

But race three brought more drama when Jordan had to evade the spinning Subaru of Senna Proctor and ended up stranded in a gravel trap on the opening lap. A determined Turkington fought through the pack from 19th to grab 10th-place points and limiting the damage of a difficult day.

Fellow Ulsterman Chris Smylie finished strongly with fourth place as Jake Hill, starting from pole position on the reverse grid, scored Audi's first victory ahead of Smylie's BTC Racing team-mate Josh Cook.

Meanwhile, Jack Young continued his fractious fight with Max Coates for the UK Renault Clio Cup, but they departed Knockhill with honours even and no need for the stewards to intervene this weekend.

Methodist College student Young has already been heavily penalised three times this season for what has been deemed over-aggressive driving and he suffered the legacy of the latest incident before even starting at Knockhill with a four-place grid penalty for the first of the two races.

He rapidly closed in on pole-sitter Coates but a mistake at the chicane allowed the leader to break clear and Young had to settle for fourth, albeit with the bonus of fastest lap.

There were no mistakes in race two as Young, recently selected to be part of the British Racing Drivers' Club's Rising Star programme, sprinted away from pole position and won by a comfortable four-second margin.

Coates recovered from a sluggish start to finish second and they head into the final four races of the season separated by just four points despite the penalties Young has had imposed.

"This win puts the pressure back on Max and reminds him I'm not going away," said Young.

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