Colin Turkington says that he is still in contention for a third Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title, despite a difficult meeting last weekend at Rockingham leaving him 48 points adrift.
The Silverline Subaru BMR Racing driver grabbed a podium finish from 15th on the grid in the final race of the day in Corby, in addition to fifth place in the first encounter and 15th after an incident-packed second race.
The double champion felt that a fourth victory of the season was on the cards in the final race of the day, a pair of safety car interruptions bringing the Subaru back onto the tail of leaders Aron Smith and Gordon Shedden with three laps remaining.
Asked by media including The Checkered Flag whether he thought victory was possible, Turkington said: “I did. Coming through the pack so quickly; when I was third, I thought there was a good chance.
“It would have taken Gordon and Aron to have a bit of a ding dong. I was maximising everything I had really from the start. I got out of the middle of the pack as quickly as I could, because it’s easy to get stuck there for the whole race.
“I was really leaning on the car. It was fast, I was able to pick somebody off each lap, but as I got further to the front it became more difficult to pass against the medium tyre runners.
“With the final safety car I was on the back of Gordon, but he was on a medium tyre as well. I’d used all my trump cards to get to third and, although I still had good pace, it wasn’t enough to try and challenge for the win. I thought ‘wouldn’t it be awesome to win this’ after getting that far, but I didn’t have enough left.”
The second race of the day was more eye-opening for the Northern Irishman.
Falling back after a an opening lap incident involving Subaru team-mate Jason Plato, contact with Dave Newsham‘s Chevrolet Cruze left Turkington very fortunate not to meet the concrete wall after a lurid spin at Rockingham’s banked first turn.
On how he evaded an accident, Turkington added: “A mixture of everything really! I just tried to get as much momentum away from the wall because I was heading that way rather quickly. I was on the hard tyre too, which makes it more difficult to catch.”
The Subaru driver remains 48 points adrift of championship leader, Sam Tordoff, a gap that Turkington believes can still be pegged back with six races remaining.
“I’m 48 points behind, but we’re still in the mix”, said Turkington. “I remember at Brands Hatch a couple of years ago leading by 49 points, but I still wasn’t sleeping that well so it’s not over. It’s more open this year than ever.”
Subaru make their maiden visit to Silverstone for the next meeting on 17/18 September, Turkington saying: “It’s so hard to say really at this stage of the season. The BMWs are very fast and have been good everywhere, but if you can get a tow in qualifying then you can have a good weekend.”