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Turkington goes back to the future with his return to West Surrey Racing

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington chose Valentine's Day to reveal he is returning to his first racing love - the West Surrey BMW team.

Theirs has been an on-off relationship stretching back 15 years and one which has brought them both great success including two British Touring Car Championships. Now Turkington is re-uniting with Dick Bennetts and the team with which he won the BTCC title in 2009 and 2014.

"It feels fantastic to rejoin WSR for 2017 and I couldn't be more excited about my return," said the 34-year-old Portadown driver.

"From my touring car debut in 2002 through to winning my second BTCC title, it's been like a second home and my greatest achievements in motor racing have all come with them."

Turkington has driven for Team BMR for the past two years, first in Volkswagens and latterly in their new Subaru Levorgs, scoring four victories in their first season and challenging for the title right to the final round.

And with the Subarus expected to be among the front runners again this year, it was a surprise when Turkington announced in January he was leaving the team. It also sparked speculation that it could only mean one thing -he was going back to West Surrey Racing.

At the time he refused to be drawn on his future, saying only he would be "working hard over the next few weeks to make something happen".

West Surrey, the team with which he has scored the majority of his 41 BTCC victories, would always have been his first choice. When he split with them at the end of 2009 and again after winning his second title in 2014, it was because of budgetary difficulties.

Each time West Surrey struggled to match his success rate and have not won the drivers' title since Turkington departed although they are currently the manufacturers' and teams' champions.

"It's great have Colin back for 2017," said Bennetts. "His performances with various WSR BMWs have been extremely strong and he's been a key part of our most successful seasons in 2009 and 2014.

"There's definitely a sense of unfinished business as, despite our intentions, commercial reasons meant we weren't able to stay together to defend our championships. We now head into 2017 with a very strong driver line-up, and we're aiming for more titles.

"To have Colin's passion and ambition in our driver line-up for 2017 is a huge impetus for us and we are looking forward to getting him back in the car and hitting the track."

The new-look WSR line-up will also include another former champion, Andrew Jordan, with a third driver still to be announced.

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