KIZILIRMAK MAKES GREAT PROGRESS AT ACTION-PACKED THRUXTON Arkas Racing's Erkut Kizilirmak made excellent progress during today's latest instalment of the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, the Turkish star making big...
KIZILIRMAK MAKES GREAT PROGRESS AT ACTION-PACKED THRUXTON
Arkas Racing's Erkut Kizilirmak made excellent progress during today's latest instalment of the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, the Turkish star making big strides throughout his maiden race meeting at the notoriously fast circuit.
Arriving at the Hampshire venue on Saturday with no prior experience of the track, the 37-year-old certainly had his work cut-out to get among the top 15 in today's races but this he managed with 13th and 14th place finishes in rounds eight and nine respectively.
Problems in qualifying meant Erkut would start the day's first encounter, round seven, from 21st on the grid but after ending the race in 17th position he went on to make continual steps forward with a weekend's best of 13th place overall in round eight and a highly competitive run to 14th position in the final race of the day, round nine.
The pleasing results see Erkut maintain 11th position in the Independents Trophy, while Arkas retains eighth place in the Independents Team standings, and hopes are high for even better at Croft four weeks from now when the championship battle resumes.
"Thruxton is the fastest circuit I have ever been to and it was certainly difficult to learn, especially as I have never even tested here before", said Erkut, "I was too cautious in the first race but I tried harder in race two and then even harder again in the last race and I think that showed in my lap times.
"We did have some understeer but the Tech-Speed guys did a great job with the car and we also worked closely with Triple Eight who were very helpful. I need more time in the car for sure but we are moving forward and that is what we need to do. I'm really looking forward to the next races at Croft -- at least I have been to that circuit before!"
With his best lap times in rounds seven and eight evenly matched just under the 1m 23 second bracket, Erkut improved markedly in the final outing of the day to take almost a second and a half off his previous best with a time of 1m 21.458 seconds in his Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch, prepared and run by Leamington Spa's Tech-Speed Motorsport.
Impressively during round nine, which saw Erkut start in 13th position by virtue of the finishing order from round eight, he ended the 16-lap encounter with a quickest lap just 1.5 seconds shy of the best set by race winner Jason Plato.
Highlights from today's seventh, eighth and ninth rounds of the BTCC season will be screened tonight at 00.05 on Britain's leading commercial television channel ITV1. Cable and digital satellite broadcaster Men & Motors will show replayed highlights this coming Friday, 11th May -- please check listings for full scheduling details.
The BTCC now takes a four-week break from action with the next three rounds taking place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on 2nd/3rd June. Before then, however, Erkut may decide to return to the track in Turkey during the upcoming break in order to get some more valuable race experience under his belt.