Colin Turkington admitted that he could barely have hoped for much better after notching up two wins from three races in the fourth meeting on the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) schedule at Oulton Park at the weekend – in so doing closing the gap separating him from early-season leader Matt Neal in the title chase to a mere two points.
Boasting a strong previous record around the undulating and demanding Cheshire track – widely acknowledged as one of the country's most testing drivers' circuits – the Team RAC star qualified third for the first of the three races on a baking May weekend, behind only the all-Racing Silverline front row of Jason Plato and Mat Jackson, but come the start his BMW 320si's rear wheel-drive advantage away from the grid would prove telling.
Slicing his way artfully in-between the two blue Chevrolet Lacettis as the lights went out, Turkington would never again be headed en route to his second victory of the campaign to-date, and a similarly dominant performance in race two – albeit having had to initially stave off the earnest attentions of the Vauxhall of defending double BTCC Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi – took the Irishman more than seven seconds clear at the chequered flag, a commanding margin of superiority by any standards.
“We've always been very strong at Oulton Park,” he mused, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
at the end of the weekend. “I've got a good history here and I've won here for the past three years, so that must count for something!
“I knew if we got the car set up right we'd have a good chance and that's exactly what happened – the car was fantastic in the first two races. Two wins makes for a very strong weekend and a good haul of points, so overall it's been a great weekend for me and the team.”
Turkington's hopes of making it a rare hat-trick of glories, however, were stymied somewhat when the reverse grid format placed him just seventh for the day's final encounter – and an early hold-up when he had to avoid the spinning BMW of Jonny Adam dropped him down the field. Following a subsequent knock from behind, he would fall away further to a lowly eleventh spot at the close, outside of the points-scoring positions.
“It was difficult,” the 27-year-old confessed. “I lost out at the beginning when Jonny Adam was spun round – I had to avoid that and I lost valuable ground, and then something broke at the rear of the car midway through the race due to a bit of contact, so I was struggling at the end and just limping home really.”
Still, his championship bid is anything but limping, as the reigning double Independents' Champion has reduced Neal's advantage to practically nothing heading next to Croft in Yorkshire – and having triumphed there twice in 2008 and once in both 2007 and 2005, expectations of maintaining that excellent record and attaining the top step of the rostrum for the fourth time this season are undeniably high.
“I hope we can be fast again,” Turkington underlined. “Croft is a bit more stop-start, so it might be a bit more difficult, but we'll certainly be trying to push on and do as best as we can. [The championship] is a bit closer now, but it's very early days. As long as I'm still close come the last race, that's when it counts.”
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