Belfast Telegraph

Turkington extends advantage in title defence

 

Colin Turkington
Colin Turkington

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington passed his half century of career wins in the British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton to increase his lead in the 2019 series.

The reigning champion from Portadown won the second of the three races at the Norfolk circuit, bringing his West Surrey Racing BMW to the chequered flag ahead of the Honda of Dan Cammish and fellow BMW driver Andrew Jordan.

And standing top of the podium, too, yesterday was Turkington's teenage protege Jack Young, who 'won' both UK Renault Clio Cup races but was only credited with one victory after penalties were dished out to him and two other drivers.

Turkington led the BTCC standings by 33 points heading into the summer break and he resumed at Snetterton by qualifying fifth despite his 3 Series BMW carrying maximum success ballast of 54kg.

Showing his usual tactical patience, he used up his compulsory medium compound tyres to finish a steady fourth behind the winning Toyota of pole sitter Tom Ingram and the Hondas of Cammish and Sam Tordoff.

But in race two, on the preferred soft compound Dunlops, Turkington surged from fourth to second and piled the pressure on leader Ingram, whose Toyota was carrying maximum ballast.

Despite being harassed by Jordan, he held his ground until his WSR team-mate triggered a gap at the hairpin and Turkington seized his chance to stretch away to a comfortable victory, his 51st in the BTCC and West Surrey's 10th of the season.

"You should be faster on the softs but you can never be sure," he explained. "But I knew the car was switched on from turn one and I had to be patient to make the right move and get the benefit of the BMW's traction on the exit of the hairpin. It worked a dream."

And the draw for race three's reverse grid worked a dream for fellow Ulsterman Chris Smylie, who saw his number pulled out for pole position. The Carrickfergus ace finished 14th in race one but charged through to take eighth in race two and get the added bonus of his BTC Racing Honda lining up in the No.1 spot. But on the hardest compound tyres he had to settle for a fighting third behind winner Rory Butcher's Honda, with Turkington 'surviving' in 10th to extend his lead to 36 points.

Methodist College student Young endured a bizarre day in which he won the first of the two Clio Cup races only to be relegated to sixth for an incident with his arch-rival Max Coates, handing victory to Jamie Bond who had qualified on pole for race two.

But he jumped the start, incurring a 10-second penalty, and although he won on the road, it was Young who was credited with the victory after another door bashing battle with Coates, neither of them being penalised this time.

It means that Young, who used the summer break to claim three Clio International wins at the French and German Grand Prix meetings, now shares the UK series lead with Coates heading to the next round at Thruxton.

Meanwhile, Aaron McLaughlin in his Ford Fiesta led from start to finish to win the Dogleap Rally at the former Shackleton army base at Ballykelly.

After the six stages, Barry Morris was over a minute behind in his Darrian with Trevor McConnell finishing third in his Mitsubishi Evo.

Gareth Sayers had been in second place but retired his R5 Fiesta on the penultimate stage with a mechanical issue.

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