Article date: 31 March 2008
Team RAC started the 2008 HiQ British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch today (30 March) with a convincing win for Colin Turkington.
After the first three races, Colin Turkington lies fourth in the drivers championship with 20 points, whilst Stephen Jelley is in fifteenth with 1 point. Fabrizio Giovanardi leads with 37 points.
Northern Irishman Colin Turkington started from a promising third place on the grid. He had a great start to the race, moving quickly to second and challenging leader Mat Jackson from the start. In lap two he slid off the track onto the grass but was able to rejoin the race at the tail end and progress from the back up to 17th place by lap four. Despite fighting his way back into the fold, he finished in 19th place but secured the fastest lap (49.20) of the first race of the 2008 season.
Stephen Jelley started his BTCC season in 11th place. After a tough start, during which he was pushed out wide in the first corner, he kept up with the field and eventually finished the race in 14th place.
Colin Turkington said: "It was a tough start to the day for Team RAC. I locked the rear axle going into Graham Hill bend which pushed me further down the grid. It was frustrating but I'm confident I'm making progress."
The race was won by Fabrizio Giovanardi who took the lead from Mat Jackson on the 17th lap.
The second race saw an impressive effort from Colin Turkington. From his initial position of 17th Turkington had a great start moving swiftly to 15th in the first lap and reaching 12th by lap two. Superb driving from the championship challenger saw him continue to progress to 9th place in lap 16 and to eventually finish the race in eighth, 12 positions higher than he started.
Team-mate Stephen Jelley had a solid second race. He started from 13th on the grid and did extremely well to withstand a great deal of pressure and gain a couple of places to finally finish in 11th.
Stephen Jelley said: "It has been an aggressive introduction to British Touring Cars for me and I quickly learnt that the experienced drivers are brutal in the way they drive. The car had good pace in dry conditions and I think I'll be able to build on what I've experienced."
The final race of the day saw Colin Turkington drive superbly to record his first win of the season. Beginning second on the reversed grid, a great start saw him immediately take lead. Turkington led for the entire race and fought off pressure from Mat Jackson who was on his tail throughout and challenged him until the finish.
Stephen Jelley picked up his first points of the season in race three. Starting from 11th place on the grid, he began well, moving into the sixth in the first lap. The new touring car driver drove well to eventually finish in 10th.
Dick Bennetts, WSR Team Principal, said: " What a fantastic day! After a slow start Team RAC really turned things around. It was great day of racing for fans and a spectacular performance from Team RAC. We are feeling confident for the season ahead and looking forward to Rockingham"
Team RAC are second in the Independents Team Championship with 32 points, and sit fifith in the Overall Teams Championship with 21 points.
The BTCC action now moves to Rockingham on Sunday 13 April.
Caroline Mayers, RAC marketing manager, commented:"It was an excellent start to the season for Team RAC. Both drivers showed great promise behind the wheel of the 2008 specification car, and we're looking forward to an exciting season."
For further information please contact:
Nina Cresswell / Steve Stammers
0207 908 6488
Notes to editors:
The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was formed in 1958 and is the UK's most popular motor racing spectacle. Its race season comprises ten 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. Around 300,000 watch the BTCC trackside each year. www.btcc.net
RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations and a provider for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.
HiQ (part of Goodyear Dunlop) has become 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.