Belfast Telegraph

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Struggles see Turkington relinquish lead at top of standings

 

By Sammy Hamill

His BMW battered and bent, Colin Turkington emerged from the toughest weekend of the British Touring Car Championship with his title hopes dented but not irretrievably damaged.

The 60th anniversary Double Diamond meeting at Snetterton was a bruising experience for the two-time champion from Portadown who struggled from the qualifying sessions on Saturday to a pitiful haul of just one point from the first two races.

But in a fiercely contested third race, the double points, double distance Jubilee race, he bumped and bored his way to sixth place, the bodywork of his West Surrey Racing BMW disintegrating and dropping off all around the circuit.

It meant he lost his lead at the top of the standings to Toyota driver Tom Ingram but Turkington is still second, just six points adrift, and he was content to settle for that after a weekend when the pieces didn't fall in place for him.

He was down in 15th in a streaming wet race one, got shunted out of race two on the opening lap, retiring with suspension damage, and then locked horns with fellow Ulsterman Chris Smiley for much of race three.

The young Carrickfergus driver had starred in the first two races, bringing his Norlin Honda Civic home seventh from 21st place on the grid and then he finished fifth in the next.

Smiley and Turkington were two of half-a-dozen drivers squabbling over sixth place in race three when Smiley was punted off the track and into retirement.

Jack Goff won race one, champion Ash Sutton race two and then Matt Neal took the showpiece finale ahead of Goff with Ingram bagging enough points to take him to the top of the championship.

Daniel Harper was back on the podium In the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, taking second place in the first of the two Snetterton rounds. But the 17-year-old, who won at Oulton Park in the previous round, paid the price for two poor first laps.

Starting third on the grid in a wet race one, he dropped to fifth before fighting back strongly to take second place behind Dino Zamparelli. He was fourth on the reverse grid for race two but a sluggish start saw Harper fall back to seventh and have to battle his way back to the leading group, setting the fastest lap on the way to finish on the bumpers of Tom Wrigley, Lewis Plato and Zamparelli.

Meanwhile, Mads Ostberg, who has replaced Kris Meeke in the Citroen team, split the Toyotas of Ott Tanak and Jari-Matti Latvala to finish second at the end of Rally Finland with Craig Breen, who never recovered from a puncture on day one, back in eighth place.

The battle for the world title remains largely unchanged with Ford's Sebastien Ogier finishing fifth and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville ninth, leaving the Belgian still ahead by 21 points.

British Junior champion Callum Devine finished fifth in the Junior WRC, the Derry driver taking 25th overall in his R2 Ford Fiesta on his Finnish debut.

Barry McKenna increased his lead in the Valvoline Irish Forestry Championship with a narrow in over Josh Moffett in the two-day Jim Walsh Cork Rally.

McKenna, Moffett and Andrew Purcell, all in R5 Ford Fiestas, swapped places several times over the two days before New York-based McKenna won by 12 seconds.

Cathan McCourt was the top Ulster finisher in fourth place on his first outing in an R5 Fiesta with Vivian Hamill fifth, also in an R5 Fiesta, and Phillip Allen seventh in Eugene Donnelly's R5 Hyundai.

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