Turkington takes title fight to Toyota's Ingram
Colin Turkington may have lost the lead in the British Touring Car Championship, but he survived - just - the dramas of the Diamond Jubilee meeting at Snetterton to stay a mere six points off the top spot as the series heads for Rockingham this weekend.
It was more than the two-time champion from Portadown might have expected after qualifying 15th with maximum success ballast and being stuck in the same lowly position to the end of a wet race one. Then he was shunted out of race two, scoring zero points.
But he showed his resilience in the double points third race, elbowing his way through the midfield battle to sixth place, finishing with his West Surrey Racing BMW trailing body parts behind.
"Snetterton challenged us for sure," said Turkington. "We were able to set the difficulties of the first two races aside and turn that around in the Diamond Double. You only had to look at the number of drivers who didn't finish to see what a difficult weekend it was.
"The focus is now 100 per cent on Rockingham. Last year, we defied the odds there by qualifying fifth with the full 75kgs of success ballast and went on to score a trio of top six finishes.
"The script changes all the time in the BTCC, but if we can be closer to the sharp end in race one than we were at Snetterton, then that's a good place to start."
It will be leader Tom Ingram who carries maximum ballast in his Speedworks Toyota this weekend as the battle for the title grows increasingly tight.
Turkington is just six points behind, but the Toyotas of Snetterton race winners Matt Neal and Jack Goff are right in the picture, as are WSR's Andrew Jordan and Subaru's Ash Sutton.
Coming increasingly into the mix, too, are Chris Smiley and Dan Lloyd in the Honda Civics of the Ulster-owned BTC Norlin team, winners at Croft and now consistent top 10 finishers.
Turkington and Jordan will have a new BMW team-mate for the Rockingham rounds, 22-year-old Ricky Collard standing in for his dad Rob, who has been ruled out on medical grounds after his Snetterton accident.
Young Collard is among the latest batch of Rising Stars to be selected by the British Racing Drivers Club, as is Daniel Harper, the 17-year-old from Hillsborough who is already a race winner in the GB Porsche Carrera Cup series.