Colin Turkington promised to fight to retain his British Touring Car Championship crown at Brands Hatch, after qualifying fifth in his Team BMR Volkswagen CC.
Reigning champion Turkington had been fastest in the day’s earlier second practice session, before ending Saturday’s final qualifying session in fifth – a place behind championship leader Gordon Shedden but one ahead of team-mate Jason Plato, who himself remains in championship contention.
And speaking to TouringCars.Net after the session, the Northern Irishman was pleased that his effort had left him towards the front of the field.
“I’m pleased – it puts us near the sharp end and in the mix for tomorrow,” said Turkington. “The grid is so tight that it’s very easy to be outside the top ten so I can fight from there.”
The Volkswagen CC had looked formidable in the hands of Turkington and Plato in second practice, but while Shedden’s efforts to out-qualify the pair had not been anticipated by most, Turkington said he had always expected the Civic Type-R driver to perform well.
“You don’t know what anyone else is doing and the speed of their cars. I was focused on what I was doing and tried to get the most out of my package.
“The Honda has been fast everywhere so it wasn’t a surprise.”
Turkington is 32 points behind Shedden with 66 still up for grabs in today’s [Sunday 11 October] three races at the Kent circuit, and the double champion maintained his belief that he could retain his crown, for what would be a third title.
“They’re small margins [on weight]. It’s important to start taking points off him early in the day so that’s my focus.
“The title is still the goal sat there – I’ve got to keep working hard towards it.”