Colin Turkington insists he is happier being the hunted than the hunter as the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) campaign reaches fever pitch at Silverstone this weekend – with just nine points separating the Irishman from Vauxhall pursuer Fabrizio Giovanardi at the head of the title chase.
Turkington leads the way into the final three meetings on the calendar – at Silverstone, Rockingham and the Brands Hatch GP circuit – but his advantage was whittled down at Knockhill last time out, where he notched up fewer points than both Giovanardi and Jason Plato in third in the standings. With nine races remaining, the chase is on.
“It was a good weekend for points-scoring,” the Team RAC star reflected of his Scottish efforts, speaking to Crash.net Radio
. “I had three good finishes and came away pleased with that. The track wasn't ideally-suited to the BMW, but we're going into some territory now which should suit us a bit better.
“The Chevrolet has run very strongly these past few meetings and the Vauxhall is going to be right on the pace as well, so it's a really strong top ten. Hopefully I can qualify well and stay at the front. I think the lead is the best place to be – even if it's just one point, I'd still prefer to be in the lead. Obviously it would be better if I was 20 or 30 points ahead, but I'm not so hopefully at Silverstone I can increase the lead a little bit.
“I have to try and score every time, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop attacking – I still have to try and go for race wins and score big points. There's no point in scoring only a handful – I still have to aim for podiums.”
Turkington warmed up for his Silverstone challenge with a trip up above the Northants circuit in a stunt plane, to promote the fact that the World Aerobatic Championships are taking place there on the same weekend. It was, he confessed, a literally breathtaking journey.
“It was really good,” he enthused, “completely different to a race car. Pulling 6.2g is incredible and not really being aware if you're upside down or facing the right way was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but saying that I would do it again!”
Now, though, his focus is firmly on the job he has to do, and the two-time Independents' Champion knows he has to fend off the advances of the defending two-time champion outright if he is to achieve his ultimate dream of lifting the laurels. Up for the fight, he hopes Irish eyes will be smiling upon him when the final chequered flag falls at Brands Hatch on 4 October.
“It would be a dream come true,” the 27-year-old acknowledged of the prospect. “This is my eighth season and this is my best opportunity to do it, so I'm just going to keep working away at it. Fingers crossed come Brands Hatch I'll still be in the mix...and hopefully it will be my turn.”
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