Colin Turkington said he was pleased with a strong start to his HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season after securing the early lead in the Independents' Championship at Brands Hatch.
Turkington qualified on the second row of the grid at the Kent circuit, but a storming start saw him just up to second place and he briefly lead after battling ahead of Rob Collard only to be shuffled back by Vauxhall pair Matt Neal and Fabrizio Giovanardi to finish third.
Another storming start in race two saw Turkington into the lead of the race and he looked well set for victory before a forceful move from Collard saw him steal the win and leave the defending Indy champion with second.
The reverse grid draw left the Team RAC ace ninth on the grid for the final race, but despite carrying extra ballast in his car, he managed to battle through to fourth place for more solid points towards his title challenge.
“This has been a very strong weekend - not only for me, but for Team RAC,” he said. “While the second race was a disappointment, you don't need to win every race to be in contention for the Championship.
“Even with the ballast in the final race, the car felt well balanced. Overall, I am delighted with how today has gone and look forward to Thruxton in three weeks time.”
Team boss Dick Bennetts was also happy with the results from the weekend, where Stephen Jelley also ran strongly for his best BTCC finish.
“It has been a strong day for Team RAC and we are definitely better off than we were 12 months ago,” he said. “Colin performed very well throughout the weekend and is a product of the good work he has been doing with his new engineer John [Morton]. Stephen has started the season promisingly and will score well throughout the year.”