Belfast Telegraph

Young slips back in title race after costly penalties

 

Not No.1: Jack Young has seen victories taken away from him
Not No.1: Jack Young has seen victories taken away from him

By Sammy Hamill

He is still a rookie racer but Jack Young is already accumulating a lengthy rap sheet in the UK Renault Clio Cup series.

The 17-year-old Methodist College student from Belfast has 'won' his last three races but has had all of them taken away from him by officials for his alleged transgressions on the track.

He should by now be leading the series, which is one of the supporting categories in the British Touring Car Championship package, but instead finds himself trailing arch-rival Max Coates by six points after being penalised in both of Sunday's two races at Snetterton.

In each case, the penalties were imposed following clashes with Coates.

They made contact in the closing stages of race one, and although Young went on to cross the finish line first in his Stobart Racing Clio, he was deemed to be the guilty party and handed a 10-second penalty which dropped him to fifth place.

Jamie Bond was declared the winner and, although he was on pole position for race two, he jumped the start, collecting a 10-second penalty, leaving Young and Coates to battle for the lead.

The young Ulster driver took the chequered flag but again race officials intervened. They judged his pass on Coates to be unfair and dished out another penalty, this time three seconds which dropped him to second.

All of this on top of being denied a 'double double' in the Clio International races at the French and German Grand Prix meetings. He dominated both races for a double win in France and did the same in Germany only for his second victory to be taken away for exceeding track limits.

Young, protégé of British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington, is a robust racer but he has every reason to feel he is being harshly treated in a Championship which is renowned for its close encounters.

Sensibly, he is refusing to be drawn into a controversy with officials but promises to be back racing hard when the series resumes at Thruxton in two weeks' time.

Although Young didn't get his wins at Snetterton, Turkington won again and now leads the BTCC series by 36 points from his West Surrey Racing BMW team-mate Andrew Jordan.

Reigning champion Turkington won race two, his 51st career victory, and another Ulster driver, Chris Smiley, was also on the podium at the Norfolk circuit after a fighting third place for the BTC Racing Honda team in the third of the three races.

The Carrickfergus driver finished in 14th place in the first race but surged through to eighth in race two and then drew pole position on the reverse grid for race three.

Unfortunately, he was left to run the least preferred hard compound tyres and was swallowed up in the early part of the race. But Smiley refused to go away and "drove the wheels off the Honda" to finish third.

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