Reigning champion Colin Turkington believes third position for the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park tomorrow [23 August] is a “fantastic result.”
The four-time champion showed great pace in qualifying after struggling in the pair of practice sessions earlier in the day, managing 15th in mixed conditions in first practice before placing sixth in the second session.
Speaking to ITV after qualifying, Turkington admitted he was initially disappointed to miss out on pole position having been knocked off the top spot by first Rory Butcher and then Josh Cook.
Despite this, he noted that being disappointed with heading the second row is testament to the pace of the WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport, especially with maximum ballast on board.
“I’m happy now, on the cool down lap I was a bit disappointed and that says a lot really. To be disappointed being P3 with full weight,” said Turkington.
“Now that the adrenaline is dropping, I’m really pleased to be inside the second row, I think that’s a fantastic result given where we’ve been in free practice.
“Team BMW once again have done a great job for me.”
With question marks over the weather conditions for tomorrow’s races, the Northern Irishman believes it’ll be difficult to achieve the two race victories he managed last year, but insists the “game plan” is to stay consistent as ever.
“I’ve already been checking the weather app quite a lot to see what tomorrow is going to bring, I think we may be in for a different day,” he said.
“But it will be the same game plan as always, try and bring the car home three times scoring good points. So trying not to take too much risk – we don’t need to win them all – so just get out there and enjoy it.
“Oulton Park is such a good circuit, especially in qualifying on new rubber, it’s a real thrill. I’ve enjoyed my day.”
Regardless of the weather conditions, Turkington is almost guaranteed a strong start against the front-wheel drive machinery that surrounds him, and believes track position will be crucial around the narrow 2.26-mile Island layout.
“I think track position counts for a lot, starting up the front you’ve got a better chance of keeping it there.
“I can’t remember the last time we raced at Oulton Park in the wet, it was so long ago.
“So I don’t really know what the difference is going to be between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive so but normally if we have a fast car in the dry we’ve got a fast car in the wet so I still think I’ll sleep well tonight.”
The opening British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend is scheduled to get underway at 12:20 BST tomorrow.