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Colin Turkington sure tough qualifying session at Knockhill will stand to him in heat of battle


Colin Turkington left it late to clinch third in qualifying at Knockhill

Colin Turkington left it late to clinch third in qualifying at Knockhill

Colin Turkington left it late to clinch third in qualifying at Knockhill

Colin Turkington said he gave it everything to put his West Surrey Racing BMW on the second row of the grid for this afternoon’s (12.08pm) opening 24-lap race around Knockhill Circuit in Scotland.

The four-time champion managed to record the third quickest time right at the death of yesterday’s red-flag-interrupted qualifying session, traversing it three tenths slower than polesitter Jake Hill.

Turkington will start alongside Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan, with Stephen Jelley of Team BMW slotting in at five and Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport driver George Gamble at six.

As predicted, rear-wheel-drive cars dominated qualifying, with five of these in the top six. The second-placed NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus of reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton was the exception.

Turkington found an extra gear compared to a wet Free Practice One and a predominantly dry Free Practice Two from earlier in the day that resulted in him finishing 17th and fifth respectively.

“It wasn’t an easy qualifying session — a red flag, loads of yellow flags and gravel on the track — but we navigated it really well and I had one run after the red flag with five minutes remaining and I improved my time to bring me up two positions. There wasn’t much left,” said Turkington, who continues to lead the Goodyear Wingfoot Award — a trophy that rewards the best driver’s performances in qualifying across the entire season.

“Knockhill has always been good territory for BMW, so it is probably the first time this season we have come to a track that has been favourable for you in the past, and that has again been the case. That is a good sign for race day.

“Our race pace should be good, but saying that, this year is really hard to read because of hybrid. It is almost like a blank sheet — no one really knows what will happen.”

Meanwhile, Trillick’s Alastair Fisher will begin the second and final leg of the Cork ‘20’ International Rally today with a 16.9-second lead over his Irish Tarmac Rally Championship title rival Josh Moffett.

The pair traded blows across the opening five tests, with Fisher momentarily losing top spot on stage six before the balance of power swung back in his favour on stage seven despite spinning his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on a left hander. His time loss was considerably less than Moffett, who overshot at the same location on hard slicks.

Fisher opted to stick his neck out and added to his advantage on yesterday’s two final speed tests.

“We found a nice set-up with the car and it seems to be working really well on the stages and in these conditions, so I am happy,” he said.

Set-up issues with his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 over the morning loop affected Callum Devine’s ability to carry the desired speed through corners and into junctions to lose touch with Fisher and Moffett. He fought back and sits just nine tenths of a second behind Moffett but accepts a win is essential if he is to keep his title hopes alive.

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