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Raring to go: Colin Turkington is chomping at the bit ahead of Silverstone

Raring to go: Colin Turkington is chomping at the bit ahead of Silverstone

Raring to go: Colin Turkington is chomping at the bit ahead of Silverstone

Colin Turkington always knew there would be bumps in the road along the way in the defence of his British Touring Car title.

One of those "bumps" came last Sunday at Thruxton where he lost his position at the top of the Championship standings, courtesy of a misfiring engine in the first of the three races at the Hampshire circuit.

"Race one is so important; your entire day evolves from how it pans out. When something goes wrong then it derails the weekend," said the four-time champion from Portadown.

Despite his West Surrey Racing BMW carrying maximum success ballast, he was up into the top five from eighth place on the grid when the car lost power after three laps and he slipped down the order, eventually having no option but to return to the pits.

The problem was rectified and he completed a few exploratory laps to check all was good again but it meant starting from the back of the grid for race two and an uphill battle for the rest of the day.

Turkington managed to salvage 11 points, not enough to prevent his No.1 rival Ash Sutton leapfrogging him to the top of the table, the Infiniti driver now leading by 16 heading into this weekend's Silverstone meeting.

"You always expect a bump or two on the journey and Thruxton was one of them. These things happen and nobody is to blame. And failing to get the points I had hoped for only increases my motivation. I'm chomping at the bit to get started at Silverstone."

Now based in Buckinghamshire, Turkington now regards the home of the British Grand Prix as his local circuit.

"It means I get to sleep at home which helps me wind down and get a good rest. I've said before I'm enjoying the pace of this condensed season but it is important to take care of yourself to keep performing at a high level week in, week out," he said.

He is encouraged by the progress he made in races two and three and is intent on carrying that momentum into tomorrow's three races but is all too aware of the threat former champion Sutton and his resurgent Infiniti is proving as well as the pace being shown by the Toyota of third-placed Tom Ingram, winner of two races at Thruxton on a weekend when Toyota also triumphed at Le Mans and Elfyn Evans won Rally Turkey.

Chris Smiley is sixth in the independent drivers' category, just behind team-mate Bruno Senna, in the new Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30N but, like fellow Ulsterman Turkington, he had a difficult weekend at Thruxton.

"It was a learning weekend and the results have been tough, but I'll bounce back stronger. If I had driven the car any harder, I could have ended up in the wall, so it's better to bring it home in one piece and learn more about it," he said.

In action, too, at Silverstone will be Methodist College student Tom Edgar, who produced encouraging performances at Thruxton with a top-five finish and a fastest lap in the UK Ginetta Junior Championship.

Meanwhile, ahead of Daniel Harper's first 24-hour race for the BMW Junior team at the famed Nurburgring-Nordschliefe circuit this weekend, fellow Ulster teenager Jack Young's debut at the famed German complex was short-lived.

Winner of the UK Renault Clio Cup last season, Young has stepped up to the World Touring Car Cup with the Swiss-based Vukovic team but he crashed out in the first of the two scheduled races yesterday afternoon, his Renault Megane understeering into the barriers on a wet opening lap.

Harper, who is based at the Nurburgring, joins his Junior team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen to drive a GT4 BMW in the marathon race which begins this afternoon. 

Belfast Telegraph