West Surrey Racing: TURKINGTON TOPS DRIVERS AT MONDELLO
The WSR MG’s qualified well to take 2nd and 3rd on the grid for this weekend’s Mondello Park opener with Anthony Reid narrowly missing out on pole by 500th’s of a second to Yvan Muller.
Both Anthony Reid and Colin Turkington converted their qualifying positions by finishing one, two in the Independents and 2nd and 3rd overall. With Anthony hot on the heels of race winner Yvan Muller for the entire 14 laps, it was never going to be easy to pass on the tight twisting Irish circuit. On taking the second step of the podium Anthony said: “The MG is fantastically quick, even faster than Muller, all the way through the race. Because of the unique nature of this race track being very narrow and with Yvan being a great defensive driver, I couldn’t find a safe way through.”
Colin put the ghosts of Mondello past behind him to take his first podium of 2004 and setting fastest lap. He commented: “I’m very please with getting a third place here at Mondello and it’s nice for all my friends and family that are supporting me. My pace was pretty good during the race and I’m looking forward to the next two races.”
With carrying heavy success ballast it was never going to be an easy race, but both Colin and Anthony put up a good fight in midfield and once again it was an MG that secured the fastest lap. Anthony also collected the trophy for the Independents win. On securing the class win Anthony said: “The second race was even more significant as I was carrying second place ballast and still achieved the fastest lap. We were certainly on pace with the Vauxhall’s.”
Colin backed up Anthony’s win in the Independents with a second place finish.
The third race of the afternoon was as action packed as the WSR team are likely to see. From the off it wasn’t long before Anthony and Colin were into their stride and moved a couple of places up the field. However, it was on Lap 10, when running 5th that Anthony took a hefty barge from Matt Neal which resulted in a rear door of the MG ZS being ripped of by its hinges. Some swift repair work by the WSR crew meant that Anthony was back out on the circuit but had dropped to 13th place.
Following this incident Neal ended up in the gravel trap and the safety car was deployed. This not only allowed Anthony to catch up the time lost in the pits but also enabled Colin Turkington, who was by this time running a strong 2nd, to close the gap on race leader Jason Plato. With the race re-started Colin pushed Plato hard and took the lead with three laps to go, giving the local crowd exactly what they wanted.
Colin Turkington said: “Today has just been amazing. The car felt really good and the wee chat I had with Anthony between race two and three gave me a few pointers. His advice has been invaluable. To win in front of a home crowd with so much support from friends and family is unbelievable. I think it tastes even sweeter than my first win (BTCC) at Brands Hatch last year. I’m off celebrating tonight!"
Colin also secured an Independents Trophy win, the Will Hoy Hard Charger Award, ITV1 Driver of the Day and the Leinster Club’s Holm Patrick Trophy.
With their points haul from the weekend, WSR still remain on top of the HarrierZeuros Independents Trophy with Colin now moving into second place behind team-mate Anthony Reid. Anthony also now moves into third place overall in the drivers championship.
Summarising on an action packed weekend, Team Principal, Dick Bennetts said: “Compared to last year it’s been very good when you consider that Colin didn’t even start a race. We qualified well, got Independents wins, fastest laps and for Colin to put the icing on the cake by winning racing three is just fantastic. Along with Anthony’s points haul were in a better position than we were last year midway through the season.”
Next round of BTCC: Croft, Sunday 25th July, 2004.