TURKINGTON’S SENSATIONAL RACE CRAFT STEALS THE SHOW AT BRANDS HATCH OPENER
COMEBACK KING STUNS WITH REMARKABLE RECOVERY AFTER RACE 1 DESPAIR
The first event of the BTCC season got off to a dramatic start as the class of 2017 took to Brands Hatch Indy for rounds 1, 2 and 3. There was an air of uncertainty up and down the pit lane as drivers and teams anxiously awaited the qualifying session that would ultimately expose the true pace of their rivals.
Many questions remained unanswered as rain played havoc with the 30-minute qualifying session. There was only a short spell of dry running before the first red flag, and consequently many drivers had yet to bank a flying lap. Colin Turkington was to emerge unscathed securing P5 after setting a solid benchmark time just before the stoppage. Jeff Smith provided the first shock of the year, unexpectedly taking his first ever pole position.
Race day proved to be as exciting and dramatic as expected for the nation’s premier Motorsport series, but with unfortunate circumstances for hot favourite Turkington. Moments after making a stunning getaway, he was hit hard on the left rear from title rival Matt Neal and left stranded with the tyre ripped off the rim and broken rear suspension.
It was a scene of despair for Colin as he sat helpless, contemplating what could have been, as the rest of the field stormed past.
Races 2 and 3 followed with a remarkable turn of events for Turkington, as he overtook an incredible 29 cars to end the day on the second step of the podium. With his superb race craft, Colin picked his way through the field, showing sensational determination and resolve. He now holds 111 BTCC podiums and 41 fastest laps.
It may not have been the opening weekend he had hoped for, but Colin Turkington left Brands Hatch upbeat and enthused, after twice being the fastest driver on the track.
COLIN TURKINGTON COMMENTS
“It’s so easy to let the head drop at the start of the day when you make 12 yards off the line and end up facing the traffic, but I’ve been in this Championship for long enough to know that you’ve quickly got to look to the next race.
Race two was where all the hard work was done really, carving through from the back and giving myself a chance with a good slot on the grid for race three.
Team BMW gave me a great car for the last race and I had a lot of fun out there. We made some tweaks for the soft tyre and I was more than happy with the pace and balance we found.
It was incredibly satisfying to find myself fighting for the lead after the way the day started, and I was pushing Andy as hard as I safely could.
I’m delighted for Team BMW and WSR after a really strong first weekend, and it feels great to be back racing the 1 Series.”
Qualifying – P5
Race 1 – DNF
Race 2 – 9th + Fastest Lap
Race 3 – 2nd + Fastest Lap
Points – 26
NEXT UP: ROUNDS 4, 5, 6
The next event on the BTCC calendar is less than two weeks away when the championship heads to Donington Park on the 15th and 16th April.