Triumphing on his maiden appearance in Monaco may have been what he describes as 'the highlight of his career so far', but victory on home turf at Silverstone, Oliver Turvey confesses, would mean every bit as much to him – as the World Series by Renault arrives on British soil this weekend.
Having stepped up from British F3 – in which he finished a superb second in only his debut campaign in 2008 – Turvey has made an excellent start to his challenge behind the wheel of the more powerful, Carlin Motorsport-run World Series by Renault machine, finishing a highly competitive fourth on his debut in Barcelona back in April and sixth a fortnight afterwards around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Three weeks later still, the 22-year-old produced that
stunning drive to see off former GP2 Series ace Adrian Zaugg for the most coveted trophy of all around the narrow, tortuous streets of the glamorous Principality, in so doing achieving a milestone in his increasingly impressive single-seater career. Those results have left him fifth in the title standings heading to the celebrated 'Home of British Motor Racing' for rounds eight and nine of 17, and comfortably top rookie – but then the rookie laurels are not really what he is chasing...
“Before the season started, my ambition was to challenge for the championship,” he underlined, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
. “You've got to go into every season believing you can win, and that was my aim. I think as a rookie I'm doing a good job, and I'm up at the front. At the minute we're lying fifth in the championship, and the points are still reasonably close, so it's still very open. We're not even halfway through the season yet; we've got ten races left, so I've got a good chance and I'm pretty confident we can be challenging for the title at the final race.
“In Barcelona I finished fourth in my first-ever race in World Series and was very close to getting on the podium. We've been strong and had strong points finishes in most of the races so far. It's going well; we just need to work a bit more on qualifying, where me and the team are trying to improve our pace on new tyres. The drivers that have been in the series for two or three years now have so much experience of the car on new tyres, and that's where they're gaining an advantage. The races are not an area that I'm worried about, because we're always one of the quickest and always have strong pace.
“Monaco was the highlight of my career so far, and definitely my biggest win so far. To win the race there outright was a fantastic result! It was the one race this year that everyone looks at and wants to win; it's a very special place to win at, and a fantastic feeling and something I'll remember for a long time.
“It was my first time there – I'd never even been to Monaco – and with only 45 minutes' practice before qualifying, it was very limited track time, but I was able to learn the track quickly and get pole position on the final lap of qualifying. From there, it was easier to control the race and I was able to get the victory.”
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed star will doubtless be looking for a similar performance in front of his partisan supporters at Silverstone as he bids to close the 22-point gap currently separating him from early-season championship pace-setters Marcos Martinez and Bertrand Baguette, and surely there could be few places better from where to launch a concerted assault on the crown. Not that he will necessarily have the advantage some may suspect him to enjoy, however...
“I'm really looking forward to this weekend at Silverstone,” enthused the 2006 McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year
. “Obviously it's my home race, and the home race for Carlin Motorsport, so hopefully we can have a strong weekend.
“I've never actually driven on the grand prix circuit, though, so whilst everyone might believe that I've got a lot of experience here, for me it's actually new so I've got to learn the track in free practice. Obviously I've driven on the international circuit a few times and the national circuit, though, and I won both races here in F3 last year, so I'm pretty confident. I love racing at Silverstone – it's a fantastic track and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of the grand prix circuit. To win here too would mean a lot.”
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