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Colin Turkington ‘robbed’ of opportunity to start near the front

A ‘hugely frustrated’ Colin Turkington feels that he was ‘robbed’ of the chance to start near the front in Sunday’s British Touring Car Championship races at Brands Hatch.

Turkington had earlier displayed top ten pace in free practice, going seventh in a cold opening session before improving to fourth in the more representative mid-day second practice run.

But in qualifying, the Northern Irishman suffered from a failure of his car’s hybrid system once again, depriving him of the 4.5 seconds of boost which should have been available to him for being fourth in the drivers’ standings.

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As a result, the four-time champion has qualified in tenth for Sunday’s opening race, leaving him as the worst-placed title contender, also behind stablemate Jake Hill and, with 27 points to make up, an increasingly slim hope of adding another title to his name.

“It’s been a hugely frustrating day,” said Turkington. “We had a good balance and a quick BMW, but we’ve once again been plagued by hybrid issues, which bit us at Silverstone and have done so again today.

“Hybrid failed on the second lap of my first run, so I actually did my fastest lap without it.

“The issue is the lack of flow in the session. I’m spending more time in the pits than I am on the track, so I’m missing being on the track when it’s at its best.

“The opportunity to start near the front was robbed from us and that’s two weekends in a row where factors totally outside our control has held us back.

“The only chance to move forward and try and win was to qualify on the front three rows. That opportunity’s been taken away from us. We couldn’t have done any more.”

WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts believes that the true pace of all three cars, barring hybrid issues, should have been close to where Hill put his BMW.

“It’s been a very confusing session when you look at the relative pace of the field,” said Bennetts. “Jake’s laptimes were very consistent so we know that’s probably about where we are – and there was less than a tenth between him and the front row.

“Colin has unfortunately suffered issues with his hybrid system for a second event in a row and that’s very frustrating. From 10th and 11th, he and Stephen [Jelley] will have to do what they can because he, of course, has a bigger gap to make up in the championship than Jake.

“Tomorrow we just have to look at what’s ahead of us, try and make up whatever positions we can, finish as high as possible to try and win the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles and just hope that we don’t have a repeat of the hybrid issues we’ve had today.”

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