Colin Turkington was pleased with his points haul from the season opening round of the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, despite having his best result taken away from him.
The four-time BTCC champion had qualified his ballast-free BMW 330i M Sport in third on Saturday, a day which was heavily affected by inclement weather, whilst Turkington himself also had to deal with back pain following an injury prior to the event.
Challenging rival Ash Sutton for the lead on the first lap in race one, Turkington made contact with the rear of the Infiniti, spinning him out of the lead.
Whilst Turkington was able to continue and claim fourth at the flag, he was later handed a post-race 17-second penalty that dropped him behind Sutton to tenth.
Forced to still carry the ballast for fourth, in race two the best Turkington could manage was an improvement to seventh by the end of the race.
Drawn in fifth on the race three reverse grid, Turkington ultimately lost out in a rain-affected race to take sixth and complete his weekend with three top ten results to leave Hampshire seventh overall in the drivers’ standings.
“When you weigh up the weekend with the number of incidents, penalties, and challenging weather, three top ten scores is a good result,” said Turkington.
“Given the level of competition, increased success ballast and the return of option tyres, it will be very difficult to secure big point hauls like we saw in 2020.
“I tweaked my back out running in the week previous, so I arrived a bit tender on Friday but nothing serious.
“After the first few laps of practice though I knew I was in trouble. Qualifying was a real challenge but with the help of a chiropractor and the BTCC doctor, I was straightened out and ready to go on Sunday. It’s just another episode in the world of BTCC!”
Turkington remains optimistic of the year ahead, with the three races at Thruxton providing a mixture of results that mean the Northern Irishman is just 21 points adrift of the top of the table.
“It feels great to be back racing! The season opener always throws out a few curve balls, and I was expecting a fierce challenge this year.
“You can never predict who is going to be at the sharp end and without the time penalty in race one, I think we had the pace.
“We’ll go to Snetterton – a track where we had an incredible weekend last year – with minimal success ballast and that should put us in a good position to really use the BMW to the maximum.”