Article date: 8 July 2009
Team RAC warmed up for the sixth round of HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship round at Snetterton on 2 July with a testing session at the Norfolk circuit today.
Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley completed a day of testing, and despite problems with changing weather conditions both drivers are now full of confidence ahead of the next round.
Turkington, who currently leads the 2009 championship standings, drove well to secure the fourth fastest time of the day with 1m13.39s. The 27-year-old from Portadown has extra cause for celebration this week as he has become a father for the first time.
Team-mate Stephen Jelley was lucky to emerge unscathed from a high-speed crash. Jelley’s Team RAC BMW 320si slammed sideways into the barriers after he lost control under braking at around 130mph at Riches Corner.
In addition to testing Turkington and Jelley gave children from Scarning VC Primary School in Norwich a behind the scenes tour of the RAC garage.
Colin Turkington said: “It was a difficult day for us at Snetterton as the session was curtailed as a result of the rain. We made some good progress in the morning but were not able to get quite as much valuable testing time as we had hoped.
“I am delighted with my season so far. It was great to go into the break leading the Driver’s Championship. Croft was great for myself and Team RAC as we celebrated a double 1-2 in the first two races.
“We are confident heading into the next round at Snetterton. The weather for the last couple of rounds has been on our side and we’re hoping for another hot day in Norfolk next month. I will be carrying maximum ballast, which will make it a challenge but I can’t wait to get back in the car.”
Stephen Jelley said: “It has been a disappointing testing session for me today. Unfortunately I had a collision and was forced to retire, so I’m quite annoyed with myself. It had just started to rain and I was hoping to experiment with a few different lines – it would have been important as this place can be unpredictable, weather-wise.
“I lost control at Riches corner and in order to avoid going head-on into the barrier I steered it towards the gravel trap but that sent it sideways. I went In very hard on the driver’s side and that’s probably why I’m feeling pretty dazed after the impact.
“Despite my bad luck today, I am feeling really positive and full of confidence ahead of Snetterton. I got on the podium three times at Croft – my best ever touring car finish. So I’m hoping for more great results in the second half of the season.”
Dick Bennetts, WSR Team Principal, commented: “It was a frustrating testing session today as the mixed conditions made it hard to learn. Stephen unfortunately had a collision but luckily he escaped unscathed.
"Team RAC confidence is high at the moment although we are aware of the tough challenge we face at Snetterton. Due to the nature of the circuit, particularly the long straights, it will be hard to get on the front row but we are delighted with the performance of the drivers so far and look forward to the next meeting.”
Turkington currently leads the Driver Standings with 149 points whilst team-mate Stephen Jelley is in seventh with 69 points. Team RAC currently lead the Independents Championship with 170 points.
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Notes to editors:
The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was formed in 1958 and is Britain’s most popular motor racing spectacle. Its race season comprises 10 events at top circuits across the UK. It is contested by professional racing drivers in competition versions of every day road cars, giving it tremendous public appeal. Some 325,000 watch the BTCC trackside each year. www.btcc.net
About RAC – The Driving People
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RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates’ UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last three years.
RAC is part of Aviva, the world’s fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.
RAC’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk.
HiQ (part of Goodyear Dunlop) became the BTCC's new title sponsor in 2008 in a new three-year agreement. It provides a fast-fit car care service at its 150 centres across the UK. In the next two years, that number will rise to 250 as HiQ embarks on revolutionising the fast-fit industry. It has already taken the lead by offering a unique online service www.hiqonline.co.uk for motorists to buy tyres and arrange a fitting appointment.