Belfast Telegraph

Turkington can win title with a bit of luck

Promising: Chris Smiley is aiming to build on good start
Promising: Chris Smiley is aiming to build on good start

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington knows the vital ingredient needed to win the British Touring Car Championship over a 30-race season - luck.

He didn't have a great deal of it in the opening round at Brands Hatch but still showed he is going to be a major contender for a third title this season.

Second place in the first of the three races at the Kent circuit was an encouraging start but then an electrical malfunction in the warm-up lap for race two saw him head back to the pits for hasty remedial work on his West Surrey Racing BMW, re-joining a lap down.

It was a deficit he could never make up, resulting in 27th place and a 14th row start for race three. But in typical Turkington fashion he carved his way through the field, climbing to ninth and setting the fastest lap along the way.

"Looking back to Brands Hatch, I imagine most drivers felt there was the opportunity for better results, but personally I left satisfied with my performance," insisted the Portadown driver. "What I didn't have is what I've always said is the holy grail ingredient of this championship - luck.

"Having said that, I still came away excited about the potential we have in the BMW."

Which is why Turkington is eagerly anticipating his return to Donington Park this weekend where he had his first win of 2017 after a similarly frustrating start at Brands Hatch a year ago and firmly believes he can be "back at the sharp end of the grid".

His fellow Ulsterman Chris Smiley made an encouraging start with 10th place in the opening Brands Hatch race in his first appearance in the Norlin team's new Type Honda Civics. But he got shuffled back down the pack in the tyre lottery which affected race two, finishing 17th, and could make little progress in race three where he finished 16th.

"It was a day of 'what could have been' but it was encouraging and we came away with plenty to build on," said the Carrickfergus man who was named as one of the outstanding drivers of the Brands Hatch weekend.

Impressive, too, was Daniel Harper, the 17-year-old from Hillsborough who was making his debut in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series. He was robbed of a potential podium place by a puncture in the first of the two races but fought back to finish seventh in race two, setting the fastest lap time on the way.

Belfast Telegraph


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