NORTHERN IRISH STAR TURKINGTON TARGETING OULTON PARK HAT-TRICK Colin Turkington, winner at Oulton Park these past two seasons, senses an opportunity to reign back in HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship points leader Matt Neal when the...
NORTHERN IRISH STAR TURKINGTON TARGETING OULTON PARK HAT-TRICK
Colin Turkington, winner at Oulton Park these past two seasons, senses an opportunity to reign back in HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship points leader Matt Neal when the series visits the Cheshire circuit this Sunday (31 May).
Team RAC driver Turkington is just 13 points behind VX Racing's Neal despite suffering a set-back with a non-finish at Donignton Park ten days ago.
Second in the standings means his BMW will arrive at Oulton carrying 36kgs of success ballast compared to the maximum of 45kgs fitted to Neal's Vauxhall Vectra. Many drivers believe Oulton's undulating lay-out makes it a circuit where ballast has a significant impact on their cars' behaviour.
But Northern Irishman Turkington told btcc.net: "The way we've got the BMW working now with ballast is pretty good. It takes the edge of your car's performance a wee bit but even at Oulton I should be able to fight for pole position in qualifying on Saturday. That's how confident I am with the weight.
"Oulton and Croft, which follows in mid-June, are both great opportunities for us and we need to capitalise if we can. Donington we knew wouldn't be the BMW's strongest circuit and I said before that Oulton and Croft were the two I really had my eye on.
"We've had wins the last two years in wet and dry conditions at Oulton and now would be a good time to start scoring some big points. All it needs is a top three for me and a non-finish for Matt - as happened to me at Donington - and we'll be right back with him again."
Turkington's form around Oulton's Island circuit has been stunning in his BMW. In 2007 he took victory ahead of champion-elect Fabrizio Giovanardi by the closest winning margin ever seen in the BTCC - just 0.046s. Last year he was again on the top step of the podium and also set a new BTCC race lap record.
The 27-year-old from Portadown added: "It's a great track purely because there's so much character about it. It's not an old airfield. There are lots of elevation changes and fast corners where the driver can make a real difference.
"The crowds on Sunday are in for a real treat. It's going to be so close. We've had seven winners from the first nine races of 2009 and there are many more drivers who have still to get their first win of the season. It's turned out to be a highly, highly competitive season in the BTCC so everybody needs to be on top of their game to come out on top and that can only add to the public entertainment."