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BTCC leader Turkington: "It’s no fluke that we’re fast"

Friday, August 01 2014

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title leader Colin Turkington is looking forward to getting back to business at Snetterton this weekend (2/3 August), with his sights firmly set on a second crown to add to his 2009 success.

Colin, who returned to the BTCC last year after a four-year hiatus, is pleased with progress so far this season: "It's been extremely positive," he said. "The grid is super-competitive this year, we've brought a much faster eBay Motors BMW package to the table, and that's enabled us to consistently challenge at the front of the field and that's what you have to do if you want to try and win."

With six wins in the season's first half, Colin's success in the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) BMW has rattled his opponents, who feel that he has an unfair advantage compared to their front-wheel-drive cars. Before the previous round at Croft, the RWD cars were ordered to run a taller first gear in an attempt to negate their startline advantage. "There has been a lot of talk about rear wheel drive," Colin said. "You know you're doing a good job when people are talking about you, but we've got into this position purely by hard work. It's no fluke that we've been so fast, so it's a good feeling to be running at the front."

In last year's Snetterton races, Colin was taken out of the lead twice when his BMW was tapped from behind. RWD cars are notoriously difficult to recover in these situations, but the Ulsterman is not expecting a repeat as payback for his success: "Not at all, last year we were in a completely different situation. I got myself to the front of the pack but at that time the car wasn't fast enough, so it had become a bit of a bottleneck situation."

If that can be read as a statement of intent, it's tempered by the spectre of clutch problems, caused by the new first gear, which struck at Croft. "We have to make changes," he admitted. "The team has done a lot of analysis after Croft and we've made some changes which will keep us reliable and on the safe side. As drivers we have to adjust the start performance a little bit. It was disappointing to lose a big score at Croft (Colin retired from race three), but that was our first experience of doing three race starts with it, which turned into four starts because the starting lights failed in race one."

Colin returns from the summer break a married man, and ready to return to the thick of battle. It's his second visit to the new Snetterton 300 circuit, and he is looking forward to racing here again: "I really enjoyed it last year, I find it a much bigger challenge than the old layout, the track now is very technical, particularly the infield section. It's definitely not easy to put the perfect lap together, but it's the challenge we're all looking for."

Snetterton will also provide a big clue to the destiny of the 2014 BTCC title and even Colin's not entirely sure how good the BMWs will be: "I think that's the big question that remains to be answered. I think we will be in much better shape than last year. I don't think we will be as strong as we've been off the back of Oulton and Croft, those are two circuits very much suited to RWD, but I think we will be mostly running at the sharp end."

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton are available on the gate for £14 on Saturday and £32 on Sunday, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.