BTCC: Arkas Racing Croft race notes

KIZILIRMAK MOVES UP ANOTHER LEVEL WITH CROFT PERFORMANCE Arkas Racing's Erkut Kizilirmak produced his most competitive drive of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Croft Circuit this afternoon to mark another big step...

KIZILIRMAK MOVES UP ANOTHER LEVEL WITH CROFT PERFORMANCE

Arkas Racing's Erkut Kizilirmak produced his most competitive drive of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Croft Circuit this afternoon to mark another big step forward in his first full season of racing in the UK's premier category.

The 37-year-old, born in Izmir and residing in Istanbul, looked set for a career best finish inside the top 10 during the second of today's three races at the 2.1-mile North Yorkshire venue but an ill-judged approach to Clervaux on lap 13 by Simon Blanckley saw the latter run into the back of Erkut who was, at the time, a superb ninth overall.

Unfortunately wiping out the Turkish ace's chance of achieving his first full championship points of the season, the racing error also saw Erkut lose the opportunity of a high grid start for the third and final race of the weekend under the reverse grid format as he was forced to retire with a damaged sump and subsequent oil leak.

Outstanding work by the Tech-Speed Motorsport mechanics between the second and third races ensured the Arkas-entered Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch would make the grid for round 12 but a problem with the throttle cable eliminated Erkut at the start.

Although frustrated to have lost out on a big points finish in round 11 and the chance of more points in round 12, Erkut's improvements in pace and race craft throughout the weekend were seriously impressive and he did enjoy a solid run to 13th position during the first of today's three encounters to take four Independents Trophy points.

"Although our results don't show how strong we were this weekend, I am very pleased with how I have improved and I want to thank the team for doing such a fantastic job", said Erkut, "It's been my best weekend so far in terms of pace and performance. Simon (Blanckley) apologised for what happened in race two, there are no hard feelings at all."

Arkas Racing's technical director Brian Ashwood added: "Both myself and Marvin (Humphries; Tech-Speed Motorsport boss) are very proud of Erkut's performance this weekend. He has improved massively since he made his BTCC debut at Croft last year and it was only bad luck which prevented him from a great finish in race two.

"All of the Tech-Speed guys did a fantastic job to replace the sump on the engine after the second race, especially as we had less than an hour and a half in which to do it. It was just a shame we then had the throttle problem at the start of the last race. The important thing to take from this weekend is that Erkut really has gone up another level."

-credit: ar

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Series BTCC
Drivers Erkut Kizilirmak