KIZILIRMAK TO REALISE BTCC DREAM AT BRANDS THIS WEEKEND
HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship star Erkut Kizilirmak will realise his long-held dream of racing Yvan Muller's 2004 title challenging Vauxhall Astra Coupe at Brands Hatch this weekend, 20th/21st September, during the finale of the 50th anniversary season.
The Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk racer, who celebrated his 39th birthday last Sunday, first wanted to compete in the BTCC after watching video footage of Muller, at the wheel of the Astra Coupe, battling door-to-door with Jason Plato at Brands Hatch as the 2004 campaign neared its conclusion.
Bringing the Astra Coupe, which he has owned since 2005, back to the UK from his home in Turkey, Kizilirmak has taken the decision to race the car in place of his usual Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch to help mark the closing of the "first chapter" in his motor racing career -- the Arkas driver planning to take a year out of the BTCC in 2009.
He explained: "I have taken the decision to take a year away from the BTCC at the end of the current season due to my business commitments and the demands on my time back in Turkey. Therefore, this weekend is the perfect opportunity to race the Coupe at Brands Hatch, something I have wanted to do since I bought the car in 2005.
"It's something a bit different to close the first chapter in my motor racing career and it will also give the BTCC fans a rare chance to see the car, which Yvan raced brilliantly in 2004, back on track at Brands Hatch. The race between Yvan and Jason is very famous and it's responsible for getting me hooked on the BTCC!"
Kizilirmak added: "With the car being in Turkey we've never really had the opportunity to run it in the UK before so I'm really looking forward to this -- it realises a long-held dream of mine and will be a fantastic end to the season for me."
Although stepping away from the BTCC next year, Kizilirmak will continue to race in 2009 by returning to the Turkish Touring Car Championship with assistance from Arkas Racing's technical director Brian Ashwood. The Istanbul-based racer will then rejoin the BTCC grid with a new car in 2010.
Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk's Martyn Bell, meanwhile, will pilot his regular Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch during this weekend's 2008 season finale at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, his maiden year of front-wheel drive competition in the realms of the BTCC.
Free practice for the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship Finals Day will take place on Saturday, 20th September, at 09.55 and 12.20. Qualifying will then follow at around 15.40.
All three of the Brands Hatch Indy races will be screened live on the UK's leading commercial television channel ITV1 on Sunday, 21st September. Round 28 is set to get underway at 11.45, round 29 will start at 14.25 and round 30 is set to begin at 16.35.