EARLY END TO QUALIFYING FOR THRUXTON ROOKIE KIZILIRMAK Turkish racer Erkut Kizilirmak will start tomorrow's seventh round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship from the 11th row of the grid after seeing his involvement in qualifying...
EARLY END TO QUALIFYING FOR THRUXTON ROOKIE KIZILIRMAK
Turkish racer Erkut Kizilirmak will start tomorrow's seventh round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship from the 11th row of the grid after seeing his involvement in qualifying at Thruxton today cut short due to an unfortunate collision.
The 37-year-old from Istanbul, making his first ever appearance at the Hampshire venue having never had the opportunity to previously test there, enjoyed a solid start to the day in his Arkas Racing Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch, ending this morning's opening free practice session inside the top 20.
Maintaining the position during the second practice, albeit with a time a full second faster than he managed during the day's first outing, Erkut did look very well placed to move further up the order as this afternoon's 30-minute qualifying session unfolded.
Having posted a quickest lap of 1m 21.630 seconds (103.89mph) during the first half of the session to move into 14th place, the Thruxton rookie was then involved in contact on his 11th lap as he attempted to negotiate a way past Simon Blanckley at the complex.
Bidding to pass Blanckley's Honda Integra in order to make himself some space for an attempt at a quicker lap time, Erkut was unsighted to the presence of VX Racing's Tom Chilton and the pair made contact -- Chilton a total innocent.
The result saw Erkut collide with the retaining wall at Segrave and although the Turkish star is frustrated he made a mistake which ultimately proved to be costly regarding his qualifying position, he is confident tomorrow's three races will bring much better fortune.
"It's very disappointing qualifying was so short-lived and I do feel bad for Tom as the collision was totally my fault", commented Erkut, "Up to that point things were going well, we improved during every session today and I know there is more to come from me.
"I have to say, my car was perfect today and the team did a great job. I'm sorry they have a lot of work to do tonight to get the car repaired for tomorrow's races but the guys at Tech-Speed do a fantastic job and I know everything will be ok."
Leamington Spa-based Tech-Speed Motorsport is, of course, the experienced saloon car team headed by Marvin Humphries which prepares and runs Erkut's BTC-spec Vauxhall Astra under the Arkas Racing banner.
Rounds seven, eight and nine of the BTCC season will take place tomorrow, Sunday, 6th May, at 10.55, 13.45 and 16.50 respectively and will be broadcast live on digital satellite and cable subscription channel Setanta Sports 2. Freeview, digital satellite and cable broadcaster ITV3 will also screen live action from round nine and highlights from the two earlier races at 16.00 tomorrow afternoon.