LEADER TURKINGTON TAKING BRANDS HATCH BTCC TITLE DECIDER "ONE STEP AT A TIME"
Colin Turkington says he'll treat Brands Hatch this weekend "one step at a time" as he bids to win his first HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship Drivers' title.
Northern Irishman Turkington will go into Finals Day with a 13-point championship lead over nearest rival Fabrizio Giovanardi, who has been Champion for the past two seasons (the duo are pictured right). Jason Plato, the 2001 title-winner, also has an outside chance - he is third overall, 28 points behind Turkington with a possible maximum of 52 to be scored in Sunday's three races.
Turkington, who has an unrivalled six race wins so far this season in his Team RAC BMW, told btcc.net: "Sure, the previous nine rounds have shaped where we've ended up ahead of Finals Day, but in many ways they don't count any more.
"You have to forget everything before. Now it's just a three race championship and I'm being given a 13-point head's start. As much as I can I have to treat it like any other race weekend. All I'm focusing on is qualifying and race one - there is no point trying to look beyond that. It's very much one step at a time."
Turkington, aged 27 from Portadown, is sure to face a new kind of pressure on Sunday - it will be the first time he's gone into Finals Day with a chance of the crown while Giovanardi and Plato both have plenty of experience of title showdowns. Vauxhall's Italian ace Giovanardi is regarded as arguably the world's finest touring car driver with nine major titles to his name, although recently Plato has shown greater outright speed with pole position in three of the last four qualifying sessions in his Racing Silverline Chevrolet.
Turkington therefore knows that beating two of the sport's biggest names to the title would add even greater credibility and he added: "Winning the BTCC would be a lifetime's dream come true - ever since go-karts I've wanted to do the BTCC and now I have that opportunity to win it.
"I've of course got to keep an eye on Fabrizio, but I think we both also need to watch out for Jason. Despite what he might say, he is definitely not out of it, particularly with the speed of his car."