Turkington stays ahead as Eastwood wins in France

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Charlie Eastwood claimed two podiums, including a race victory, in the GT Open international series in France as Colin Turkington boxed smartly to retain first place in the British Touring Car Championship in a soaked Oulton Park. After a third place finish in the World Endurance Championship round in Belgium, Eastwood dominated the first of two GT Open races at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France.

The 26-year-old Belfast driver qualified the TF Sport Aston Martin GT3 from pole position and led through the first stint before giving way to his Turkish teammate Salih Yoluc who drove the car home with a margin of 20 seconds. .

For yesterday’s second race, Yuloc took over the qualifying duties, securing a spot on the second row and taking third place before Eastwood took over, losing several spots in the change that was extended by 15 seconds as a handicap for their victory on Saturday.

But Eastwood quickly climbed back to third and was closing in on second when the checkered flag fell, a result good enough to take him and Yoluc to the top of the Open series.

Turkington had to use all of his racing skills and techniques to stay top of the standings in round three of the BTCC at Oulton Park. The four-time champion predicted that unstable weather would play a role and it turned out.

The cars were on the warm-up lap for the first race when the rain poured in, forcing a rush on the wet tires. With his West Surrey Racing prepared for a dry track, Turkington, who had qualified third fastest despite maximum ballast as the series leader, struggled to stick with the lighter front-wheel drive cars and fell fifth.

It became fourth after ‘winner’ Josh Cook was disqualified when his BTC Racing failed the post-race ride height test, giving the victory to Rory Butcher’s Motorbase Ford Focus. Chris Smiley finished 10th, just ahead of his teammate Excelr8 Hyundai Senna Proctor.

With his car’s settings changed for race two, Turkington was back in the fight but there was little they could do to challenge the flying Infiniti of former champion Ash Sutton who won past Butcher to close the gap. at the top of the leaderboard. Smiley fell back to finish 14th.

The rain subsided for the third race and brought Turkington his second podium of the day, second behind Adam Morgan’s Mercedes and two places ahead of Sutton to maintain his points advantage after a crash involving Lewis’s younger brother Hamilton, Nicholas, who brought out the red flags. In the drier conditions, Smiley made good progress and finished ninth when he was stopped.

Telegraph de Belfast

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