TURKINGTON & THOMPSON WIN AT OULTON PARK AS NEAL SEES POINTS LEAD SLASHED Colin Turkington and James Thompson shared the victories in today's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races held in front of a bumper, sun-soaked trackside ...
TURKINGTON & THOMPSON WIN AT OULTON PARK AS NEAL SEES POINTS LEAD SLASHED
Colin Turkington and James Thompson shared the victories in today's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races held in front of a bumper, sun-soaked trackside crowd at the picturesque Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire. But it is still Worcestershire's Matt Neal who continues to lead the Drivers' standings - albeit by the greatly reduced margin of just two points - from Turkington as the UK's premier motor racing championship next heads to the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire for its fifth round of 2009 on Sunday 14 June.
Northern Irishman Turkington dominated the day's first two races, even though his Team RAC BMW was carrying substantial success ballast. By mid-afternoon those two wins had moved Turkington past Neal to the top of the Drivers' standings - the first time in his eight years in the BTCC that he had led the championship. But a non-score by Turkington in race three and a vital third place for Neal - that followed seventh and fourth places in the first two races - was sufficient to move the Vauxhall driver back to the head of the table.
Neal's bid to win a third BTCC title, to add to those he achieved in 2005 and 2006, remains on course but he knows that his task is far from over. The 42-year-old said: "I actually feel a bit shellshocked. I seem to have been in the middle of it all day and certainly the racing is becoming very intense. We've been on the back foot a bit here and these have been three very tough races, plus we're heading to Croft next which is again BMW territory. We've just got to keep grinding out the results wherever possible."
Turkington, aged 27 from Portadown, added: "I got hit so many times in that last race I don't even know who it was hitting me! But I'm certainly not disappointed to have fallen back behind Matt. It's actually a slightly preferable position to be because being second means my car will be slightly lighter than his with success ballast going to Croft, just as it was coming here. I'm not saying we can repeat today's results there but I'm feeling very confident with the way the team has got the BMW working."
Yorkshireman Thompson's race three victory, meanwhile, means he maintains a very competitive sixth overall in the standings behind Vauxhall's reigning Champion, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Racing Silverline's Jason Plato and Airwaves BMW's Robert Collard.
Elsewhere, Vauxhall/VX Racing has increased its lead at the top of the Manufacturers/Constructors championship, as has VXR in the outright Teams' table. Turkington has slightly increased his Independent Drivers' lead - over new second-placed challenger Plato - and having fallen a point behind Airwaves BMW in the battle for Independent Teams' honours two weeks ago at Donington Park, the RAC squad now finds itself back in front by a point.