BELL & KIZILIRMAK HAIL 'FANTASTIC' ARKAS TEAM-WORK Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk driver pairing Martyn Bell and Erkut Kizilirmak have both hailed the outstanding efforts of their team following the weekend's fourth race meeting of the 2008...
BELL & KIZILIRMAK HAIL 'FANTASTIC' ARKAS TEAM-WORK
Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk driver pairing Martyn Bell and Erkut Kizilirmak have both hailed the outstanding efforts of their team following the weekend's fourth race meeting of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.
Having been left with two seriously damaged Vauxhall Astra Sports Hatch race cars after the previous BTCC event at Donington Park a fortnight ago, the Arkas Racing squad worked wonders in the run up to the weekend to enable Bell and Kizilirmak to take part, let alone challenge for Independents Trophy points.
During the first of the three BTCC races yesterday, Sunday, 18th May, Barrow-upon-Humber based Bell produced a very encouraging 17th place finish -- from 23rd on the grid -- to just miss out on the Independents points placings by one position.
Race two, round 11, saw the 43-year-old caught up in a very unfortunate accident at Segrave on lap one and resulted in a heavy impact with the tyre wall. As he attempted to avoid the chaos ahead, caused by a spin for Andrew Jordan, Bell was forced wide onto the grass and suffered a collision with the barrier.
With substantial damage to the front end of the Astra, the Arkas squad -- which is run on the ground by Leamington Spa based Tech-Speed Motorsport -- worked hard to repair the car in time for round 12. Close to an Independents points finish again, Bell ended the final race of the day in 15th position overall, just behind team-mate Kizilirmak.
The Turkish racer secured the final Independents Trophy point in 14th place overall during round 12, his own car having needed some care and attention following round 11 when a trip over the kerbs at Club Chicane damaged the sump and he ended up in 19th position. During the first of the day's races, 38-year-old Kizilirmak was 22nd overall.
Reflecting on the weekend, Kizilirmak said: "The team has done a fantastic job again, they worked incredibly hard in the lead up to this weekend to build a new car for me after the Donington accident. Ok, we didn't get the results we wanted but sometimes that's the way it goes. I think at Croft we can be stronger, I'm looking forward to it."
Team-mate Bell added: "All of the guys at Arkas, the Tech-Speed mechanics, are a real bunch of stars. The hard work they put in after Donington to make sure Erkut and I were both racing this weekend was unbelievable. Obviously, we had one or two incidents this weekend too which meant even more hard work but they did a fantastic job.
"It's a shame we weren't able to deliver better results as the team deserves them but I'm confident Croft will be a different story in two weeks. I'm really looking forward to being back on home soil for the next three rounds."
After the latest BTCC encounter, Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk remains in eighth position in the Independents Team Trophy, but with an increased points total of 30.
Following Kizilirmak's 100mph accident during the second of the Donington Park races two weeks ago, the team was left with no option but to build a spare Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch car for the Turkish racer to pilot at ultra-fast Thruxton.
With a total of just 10 days (including the May Day Bank Holiday and last weekend!) in which to ready the car, the Tech-Speed mechanics did a superb job. Similarly, Bell's car also needed a fair amount of repair work due to the damage he sustained during the same Donington race.
Having had several other incidents to contend with this weekend at Thruxton, everyone at Arkas is now hoping for a trouble-free event when the championship resumes at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire a fortnight from now, over the weekend 31st May/1st June, for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the BTCC season.
Action from yesterday's three BTCC races will be screened during the regular ITV1 highlights show late tonight, Monday, 19th May, at 00.55. Further screenings will be shown on sister Freeview, digital satellite and cable channels ITV4 and Men & Motors later in the week -- please see listings for additional details.