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Turkington: "Brands is the ideal theatre for a BTCC showdown"

Wednesday, September 27 2017

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title contender Colin Turkington is relishing the fight that awaits him at Brands Hatch this weekend (30 September - 1 October), when he could lift the championship trophy for the third time.

Whilst four drivers are mathematically in contention this weekend, realistically it's a straight fight between the Northern Irishman and Subaru's Ash Sutton.

Colin, a veteran of many BTCC title battles, agrees: "It looks that way! I'm very much enjoying the title run-in, it's always an exciting prospect and I do love being involved in these showdowns. This is my fifth year in a row, so I know what it's all about and although it does bring its stresses, it's really exciting to have a shot at another championship."

Between them, Subaru and Colin's BMW teams contain seven of the 31 drivers on track this weekend, almost a quarter of the grid. It should make the battle the main focus of the three races, but the 35-year-old isn't expecting any favours. "It's difficult to plan too much in these events, once the helmets go on it can be every man for himself," he said. "Right now I have to make sure I deliver my best performance and if I can get some assistance off my BMW team-mates then great."

Last year Colin won two races on the Grand Prix circuit in a last-ditch effort to win the title for Subaru. Having left the team over the winter, he's in the unusual position that his title opponent is also his replacement in the BMR-run squad.

"I have good experience of the two packages," Colin said, adding that he doesn't think this offers him any advantages. "Cars develop so much from year to year and event to event," he explained. "Knowing the other car's capabilities doesn't make it any easier or more difficult to pass, you're dealing with the circumstances that are in the here-and-now with tyre strategies and success ballast. What happened last year goes out of the window."

One certainty, however, is that Colin's carrying 9kgs fewer success ballast than his rival, who leads by ten points. "It puts me in a stronger position for qualifying being slightly lighter, my car seems to still perform well with 66kgs. Yes, I would prefer to be closer than ten points, but that's what I've got to work with. I know that over the past four years, the leader going into Brands Hatch has always dropped more than ten points relative to the next man, so the odds are on my side from that side and the strategy's clear; I just have to go for it."

The double champion expects the BMW to be on the pace at Brands Hatch, so much that he's filled with enthusiasm for the weekend. "It's the perfect venue," he said. "Brands Hatch is the ideal theatre for a BTCC showdown; it's delivered many classics over the years, which I've been lucky to be involved in. I've got a lot of support coming across from home, so I'm sure that will drive me on a little bit as well, so I'm counting the days down, I want to be there now!"

By Sunday night, Colin could become a triple champion, joining Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden at the top of the modern-day Touring Car tree. "I'm already keeping good company on two titles," Colin joked. "But the hunger is just as much for the third one as it was for the first. I'm not a greedy person, but if there's a chance to win a third crown I will grab it with both hands. I'm going to fight hard for it."

Tickets for the BTCC at Brands Hatch on 30 September-1 October are available in advance from £27 with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click  here.