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Colin Turkington ‘really happy with season start’

Colin Turkington is hoping to put right the wrongs of the 2013 season as he goes in search of a second British Touring Car Championship crown.

After returning to the fray last season after four years away from the series, Turkington had been in the contention for an unlikely title until his challenge unraveled at the final round of the season at Brands Hatch.

But two victories from the opening nine races of the 2014 championship leave the Northern Irishman third in the championship classification, 18 points back from leader Andrew Jordan and with a much stronger car than he had 12 months ago.

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Turkington had aired on the side of caution in regard to his chances of repeating last season’s feat earlier in the year, but speaking to TouringCars.Net he was thrilled with how the first three rounds of the season have panned out, particularly having visited circuits where the squad had expected to struggle.

“We’re really happy with the start,” said Turkington. “I think everybody was in the same position on media day with new cars and new driver line-ups and we didn’t quite know where we’d fall into the pack but I’m pleased to say we’ve been competitive from day one with the win at the opening round at Brands, we were very close to a win at Donington and obviously the win at Thruxton so it’s been a solid start.

“In the past Donington and Thruxton have been tracks where we’ve struggled a bit more than others so it’s nice to come away after the first three races with a good strong haul of points.”

And the West Surrey Racing driver was pleased with the improvements Dick Bennetts and his team had made to their BMW i125 challenger over the winter, highlighting the importance of a strong bond between himself and the outfit, with whom he clinched his sole title to date in 2009.

“We have [improved] particularly in the quick corners, we seem a lot better – that was our weakness as such last year but our pace at Thruxton in particular shows that we’ve improved in that department; Thruxton is the ultimate test of that, so the whole project has moved forward.

“I’ve spent pretty much all of my BTCC career at West Surrey Racing, it’s a top outfit that always gives the driver the best car possible and you know if you driver for them you’re always going to have a chance to win and that’s what every driver wants.

“I’ve got a great little team behind me at the moment, my engineer [and] mechanics…everything’s working well, the mood is good in the camp as well which is very important. We’re looking really good for the rest of the year.”

Turkington felt that the improvements to the eBay Motors machine were part of the reason behind the revival of his teammates Rob Collard and Nick Foster – who both endured a disappointing 2013 season – something which he feels has been vital for the success of the team.

“It’s really important to have all three cars up there,” said the 32-year-old. “I think that also illustrates the progress that we’ve made on the car through the year.

“Rob got his first podium at Thruxton as well so the pace has been good from everybody and I’m sure we’re only going to get stronger as the season goes on.

“Ultimately it’s much nicer to be up there battling with your teammates than some of the other main drivers.”

But despite a stronger start to the 2014 campaign than his previous one, the 2009 champion was coy on his chances of taking top honours at the end of the season, insisting that his focus was on making sure the team stay at the sharp end of the grid.

“We’re in a lot stronger position this year – last year we were bringing the BMW to all these tracks for the first time and it was difficult to be consistent.

“At some tracks we were good, other we weren’t so good, [but] I think this year we’ve been strong everywhere at the moment so I think this year with experience if we can score consistent points at all of the events then you don’t have such a big job on your hands to try and drag yourself back into the fight.

“I just want to keep working hard, keep doing what we’re doing – it’s going to be a tough fight like last year, but we have a quicker car.”

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