Belfast Telegraph

World Touring Car Championship: Turkington thrives in Japanese rain

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington again demonstrated his ability to compete at world touring car level with second and sixth place finishes in Japan.

The 2009 British champion from Portadown returned to the WTCC series for the penultimate round of races at Okayama and despite never having driven at the Honshu Island circuit before — or raced in monsoon conditions — he produced two strong performances for the West Surrey BMW team.

“We get lots of wet races in England but nothing like this but maybe that experience helped me,” said Turkington afterwards.

“My strategy was not to take risks and try to stay on the track. I had to be careful so I’m really happy to be on the podium again.”

Forced to sit out this year’s British championship because of lack of funding following the withdrawal of sponsors RAC, Turkington has made sporadic appearances in the WTCC in Portugal, the UK and the Czech Republic, collecting podium finishes at Brands Hatch and Brno.

And he did again in Japan after posting fourth fastest time in qualifying to earn a second row starting position for race one which began behind the safety car because of the heavy rain.

Rob Huff took the win but second place for Priaulx kept him in touch with championship leader Yvan Muller who finished third.

But in race two, once Priaulx saw his hopes of a fourth WTCC title virtually disappear when his BMW skated off the track, Turkington joined the battle at the front, racing wheel to wheel with Brazilian BMW driver Agusto Farfas behind leader Gabriele Tarquini as the rain continued to pour down.

Tarquini crashed out five laps from the end and with the safety car again deployed, Turkington and Farfas crossed the finish line together with the Chevrolet of his former Vauxhall team-mate Muller in third.

But Frenchman Muller now has a 37-point lead over Priaulx going into the final two races in Macau where Turkington will again be in action.

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