Belfast Telegraph

Turkington will aim to shine during China mission

Heading east: Colin Turkington will make a cameo in China
Heading east: Colin Turkington will make a cameo in China

By Sammy Hamill

With less than a couple of weeks to savour his success, newly-crowned British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington will be back behind the wheel this weekend - in China.

The Portadown driver, who clinched his record-equalling fourth British title in the final round of the BTCC series at Brands Hatch, has headed off to the Zhouzhou circuit where he will stand in for former World Touring Car champion Rob Huff in the Chinese Championship.

Turkington, who has raced in the Chinese series in the past, will take over Huff's SAIC Volkswagen for the 333 Racing team in a one-off appearance this weekend.

Huff is unable to take part in the races due to a clash with his Volkswagen World Touring Car Cup programme, racing at Suzuka in Japan this weekend.

Turkington made his CTCC debut last year, completing two race weekends for the Volkswagen team, recording two pole positions and a podium finish.

Meanwhile, Kris Meeke prepared for this weekend's Rally Spain with the fastest time in the shakedown test ahead of last night's ceremonial start in Salou.

The Toyota driver was quickest on all three runs over the test stage, edging out the Hyundai of Dani Sordo, with Jari-Matti Latvala third fastest, also in a Toyota Yaris.

Meeke acknowledged that the shakedown stage was not representative of the route ahead over the next three days, but added: "It's always nice to be quickest in shakedown even if the stage here is not so similar to what's to come during the rally. But still, everything felt quite good in the car.

"We had a lot of rain here on Tuesday night and certainly that's going to be a factor over the weekend."

The torrential downpour prompted the organisers to allow the gravel crews to check the stages early today to amend pacenotes.

"That was clearly needed," said Meeke. "After the monsoon conditions we don't know where bits of the roadside may have fallen away or where dirt has fallen into the road and tightened up a corner.

"It will give us a lot better idea for our tyre choice and how we approach the stages."

Meeke's Toyota team-mate Ott Tanak, the World Championship leader, was only sixth fastest yesterday but was ahead of his title rivals Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), who were eighth and ninth, more than two seconds slower than the Ulsterman.

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