BTCC: Arkas Racing Oulton Park race notes

KIZILIRMAK EQUALS BEST EVER BTCC RESULT ON OULTON DEBUT Erkut Kizilirmak equalled his best ever Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race result at Oulton Park Island Circuit today, Sunday, 24th June, during his maiden appearance at the...

KIZILIRMAK EQUALS BEST EVER BTCC RESULT ON OULTON DEBUT

Erkut Kizilirmak equalled his best ever Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race result at Oulton Park Island Circuit today, Sunday, 24th June, during his maiden appearance at the challenging 2.2-mile Cheshire venue.

The 37-year-old Turkish racer, driving a BTC-specification Vauxhall Astra Sports Hatch, recorded a hard-earned 11th place overall during the last of the day's three races, round 15, having earlier claimed 14th position during round 13.

Translating to seventh and ninth place finishes respectively in the Independents Trophy class, the results mean Erkut has consolidated 11th position in the standings and is now just six points shy of the top 10 -- a great achievement when considering how difficult it is for a newcomer to learn the tricky Oulton Park track.

It was certainly an eventful weekend for the Arkas Racing driver. Qualifying saw him post the 19th fastest lap but at the start of the first race Erkut found himself 17th on the grid due to problems for two rivals on the formation lap. Maintaining his composure after an early spin, he then battled back from 22nd position to eventually finish in 14th place.

Hopeful of a strong run in round 14 from the seventh row of the grid, he made a great getaway to gain two positions on the run to Old Hall but then disaster struck when Erkut was forced into retirement as the result of an accident triggered further down the order.

With the Astra coming to rest after a substantial impact with the tyre barrier on the outside of the first corner, it would be a race against time for the team to get the car repaired in less than 90 minutes before the start of the last of the day's three races.

Fantastic work from the Tech-Speed Motorsport mechanics, the Leamington-Spa team which runs and prepares the Arkas entry, ensured Erkut would line-up on the grid for round 15 though and the race actually proved to be the most fruitful of the weekend as he avoided all of the chaos to finish a strong 11th to match his career best BTCC finish.

"Obviously I came here not knowing the circuit at all but we improved well during the weekend", said Erkut, "I found almost three seconds between the first practice and qualifying. It's a very difficult track to learn for a newcomer, especially with so many blind corners, but I am happy with our weekend, we had some good results.

"The second race was disappointing as I made a good start, passed two cars, didn't touch anyone, and then as I braked I felt a huge impact in the side of my car. I tried to control it but there was nothing I could do and went straight over the track into the barriers on the outside -- I have no idea who hit me!

"It's a shame but I was pleased with my performance in the last race and I want to say a big thank you to the team as they did a fantastic job to repair the car so quickly in time for the last race."

Highlights of today's three BTCC races will be screened on cable and digital satellite subscription channel Setanta Sports 1 at 20.30 on Tuesday, 26th June, with an additional broadcast on Men & Motors at 20.30 on Wednesday, 27th June.

There is now a three-week break ahead of rounds 16, 17 and 18 which will be held at Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire on 14th/15th July.

-credit: ar

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Series BTCC
Drivers Erkut Kizilirmak