Belfast Telegraph

Turkington is taking nothing for granted in race for glory

 

By Sammy Hamill

For good reason, Colin Turkington is called the 'King of Croft'.

With 12 victories, 19 podiums and eight fastest laps, he is the British Touring Car Championship's most successful driver at the North Yorkshire circuit.

And the two-time champion from Portadown returns this weekend leading the series as the BTCC reaches the halfway mark.

It hasn't been an entirely smooth passage to the top of the table, technical glitches affecting his West Surrey Racing BMW on a number of occasions.

But Turkington turned it around at Thruxton and then, two weeks ago at another of his favourite circuits, Oulton Park, he won for the first time this season. A trio of strong results saw him jump from fourth to first in the standings and he takes a 12-point lead over Honda's Jack Goff into Sunday's Croft rounds.

The downside is Turkington's BMW will carry maximum 'success' ballast of 75kg into qualifying in the first of the three races.

However, he said: "After I won race two at Oulton I had maximum ballast for race three and the BMW carried it well, finishing third. It was a good test for getting the set-up right for Croft.

"Although my record there is the strongest of any driver, I won't be resting on those laurels. It's crucial to push on with the same hunger that got me my first BTCC podium there in 2002."

Fellow Ulsterman Chris Smiley achieved his first podium with a second place at Donington, but both he and new team-mate Daniel Lloyd were the innocent victims of a huge start-line crash in race three at Oulton, leaving the BTC Norlin team with a huge rebuilding job.

Their Type R Honda Civics are fit and well again.

Qualifying takes place tomorrow with all three races live on ITV4 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 500 Club's Kirkistown circuit hosts three rounds of the Avon Tyres UK National Formula Ford Championship, starting with qualifying this afternoon (from 3pm).

Niall Murray, the 2016 champion and a multi-race winner at the Co Down circuit, leads the series after back-to-back wins at Brands Hatch and returns to Kirkistown to take on English teenager Matt Round-Garrido, who has dominated the NI Championship this season.

Belfast Telegraph

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