Colin Turkington says he empathises with Andrew Jordan after his BMW team-mate announced his withdrawal from this season's delayed British Touring Car Championship.
Jordan has partnered four-time champion Turkington in the West Surrey Racing-run team for the past three seasons and was due to be alongside him and Tom Oliphant when the series finally gets underway at Donington on August 1.
But the English driver, who was champion in 2013 and one of Turkington's closest rivals when finishing runner-up to the Ulsterman last season, says he has had to make the "difficult decision" in the light of the effect the coronavirus has had on the motor racing industry. It is understood that the additional backing Jordan was planning to bring to the team for 2020 has been seriously affected by the fallout from the pandemic.
"We all empathise with Andrew's situation," said the Portadown driver, who will be bidding to become the first five-time BTCC champion.
"It is disappointing he has had to make this decision but many of us feared we would be coming back to a very different scene in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown which affected so many people and so many businesses.
"Andrew has been a great team-mate and a fiercely competitive rival over the past three seasons, winning 10 times for the team and helping us win the manufacturers' championship. He'lI be missed and I sincerely hope we will see him back before too long."
Meanwhile Daniel Harper's long-awaited return to racing was disappointing and short-lived. It didn't happen.
Due to make his debut with the BMW Junior team in the opening round of the Nürburgring Endurance series at the weekend, the 18-year-old Ulster driver was able to take part in free practice and qualifying but never got to be part of the race.
His German team-mate Max Hesse crashed their BMW M240i just four laps into the four-hour race, leaving Harper and American Neil Verhagen waiting frustratingly for their turn.
Harper, who was due to take over for the second stint, explained: "A technical problem resulted in the car going off the track and hitting the barriers. it's a shame how the race went in the end but, after months away from a race track, it felt so good to be back at a circuit."
The former British Porsche Carrera champion from Hillsborough, who is on a two-year scholarship with BMW, will get another chance when the series resumes on July 11/12.