Turkington Delighted With Podium Hat-Trick


Colin Turkington extended his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship lead after a hat-trick of podiums at Snetterton last weekend, now 23 points clear of Gordon Shedden heading to his Scottish rival’s home circuit later this August at Knockhill.

The West Surrey Racing BMW driver kept Jason Plato honest throughout the weekend at a Snetterton 300 circuit well suited to MG, Turkington netting a pair of second place finishes behind the Triple Eight man, before adding a third podium of the day in an enthralling final race of the afternoon.

The heavy points haul came as a welcome surprise for the 2009 champion, who felt that the team and himself excelled themselves during the weekend in Norfolk as he extended his points lead from seven to 23 over Honda Yuasa Racing‘s Shedden.

“I’m delighted to make the podium three times, and it shows the pace we’ve still got in the car”, Turkington told The Checkered Flag after his weekend. “We’ve done better than we expected. The car has once again been good and that’s allowed me to fight for wins; I think that’s the best we could have hoped for.”

Turkington shadowed Plato throughout the opening two races of the day, and said he felt that the MG driver was just out of reach at a circuit that both the MG itself and Plato have always gone well at. The Northern Irishman gave Plato a scare in race two, despite surrendering the lead after a lightning getaway which put him ahead of the Triple Eight man, keeping the pressure on until the end of the 15-lap encounter.

The WSR driver added on the race: “I was keeping the pressure on, and if there was a chance then I was always going to go for it. But he was just too strong in those last few laps and I started to lose a bit of performance on the front tyres. That was it really from then on.”

“This is a great circuit for MG; we knew that before and he was very fast all weekend. FWD cars have won three times also, so it was always going to be very, very difficult for us to take a win off them.”

Jason Plato got the better of Turkington in races one and two (Photo: btcc.net)
Jason Plato got the better of Turkington in races one and two (Photo: btcc.net)

Turkington will however start race one at Knockhill on 23/24 August eight places worse off after qualifying, picking up a grid penalty for a clash with Honda Yuasa Racing‘s Matt Neal heading into Montreal during a hectic final encounter at Snetterton.

The points leader had charged through from seventh on the reversed grid to an eventual third place in the frenzied outing, taking the final podium spot as Fabrizio Giovanardi threw away third on the last lap in his Airwaves Racing Ford Focus.

“That was a pretty intense race – probably one of the most tense this season”, Turkington commented.

“It was tricky because the pack was all going at similar speeds. As soon as somebody defends to the inside it’s very difficult to get past, but it was still an enjoyable race. It’s tricky to make progress through the pack, and you’re almost waiting on a mistake rather than a move on somebody.”

Turkington – a double Knockhill winner here last year with WSR – kept his championship cards close to his chest after Plato’s performance at Snetterton, not counting out the double champion from spoiling the party as Plato now lies 43 points adrift, with four meetings still remaining.

“As I said, you can’t write anybody off at this stage. I can’t remember the last time Jason wasn’t in the mix for the championship! So it would be unfair of me to write anyone off.”

Updated BTCC championship standings after round 6/10:

1) Colin Turkington

279pts

2) Gordon Shedden

256pts

3) Jason Plato

236pts

4) Andrew Jordan

201pts

5) Rob Collard

187pts

6) Mat Jackson

173pts

7) Matt Neal

161pts

8) Sam Tordoff

138pts

9) Aron Smith

125pts

10) Adam Morgan

97pts