Colin Turkington moved himself up to fifth in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after another win at Snetterton, but refused to count himself as a serious title contender just yet.
The double BTCC champion remarkably scored a grand total of 48 points for the third meeting in succession at the Norfolk circuit, clinching his third victory in the first race on Sunday after a tactical battle with Honda’s Gordon Shedden.
Results of second and sixth followed, the Silverline Subaru Team BMR racer climbing to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and just 34 points behind series leader, Rob Collard.
“It’s a really good step forward for us”, Turkington told The Checkered Flag after Snetterton. “Especially in terms of championship position and the haul of points we took this weekend.
“We’re obviously moving in the right direction, but we still need more pace to actually challenge. That was really difficult today to get those results.”
Having only scored 10 points from the opening three meetings, the Northern Irishman has now collected 144 in the subsequent trio to leap himself back into title contention. Despite the surge, Turkington does not see himself as a realistic contender just yet.
“Not at this moment”, he said. “The guys at the sharp end are consistently scoring points so they’re becoming harder to pull in, but I don’t know really. Each weekend is a completely new set of circumstances.”
Turkington admitted that an improvement in power would still be welcome to the Subaru squad, adding: “We’re really lacking in straightline speed compared to others that I’m racing with, so if we can make another step then we have a chance.
“We’ve got the chassis working really well. We’re making gains each time out. I lucked into a bit of a slipstream in qualifying which helped me get track position up there to challenge. We know what we need to work on; it’s difficult to say what we can do so we’ll take it one race at a time, but I’m leaving here very pleased.
“[Ballast] could be the thing, obviously”, Turkington admitted on the topic of handling success ballast on Saturdays. “I’ve been able to qualify really well in the past three events because I’ve had no weight on.
“That’s going to make it a bit tougher for us.”
Turkington next heads to Knockhill in Scotland on 13/14 August, a circuit that has previously favoured rear-wheel drive machinery in recent years.
“Knockhill’s a peculiar place, so we could maybe drag a lap out of it more than other places. Who knows, it’s always been good RWD territory. You need a good run out of that hairpin to get up the hill, but I think the BMWs are going to be very strong.
“It was our Achilles heel last year with the Volkswagen, so we’ll see what this one brings. It’s a place where you yourself can pull a lap out of the bag in qualifying.”
2016 has so far proved to be a season filled with unpredictability, Turkington echoing the feelings that putting together a strong weekend is now a difficult challenge for drivers.
Asked whether it could be the most unpredictable season of his career, Turkington said: “I think it has. Everybody has a quick car now and with 75kg [success ballast] and softer tyres – you can’t go into any particular event confident. You really don’t know where you’ll be.”