TURK­ING­TON

PRE­DICTS SUBARU GAINS

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Photos: Jakob Ebrey, LAT By Matt James

Race win­ner Colin Turk­ing­ton says he has only scratched the sur­face with the po­ten­tial of the fac­tory-sup­ported Subaru Levorg Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship ma­chine af­ter tak­ing his first win of 2016 at Oul­ton Park last week­end.

The North­ern Ir­ish­man qual­i­fied on pole po­si­tion for the first of the week­end’s three races in Cheshire and pow­ered to a race one win, be­fore fol­low­ing that up with sec­ond place in the sec­ond race and sev­enth po­si­tion in the fi­nale.

His team-mate, dou­ble cham­pion Ja­son Plato, took three podi­ums on a re­mark­able turn around for the Team Bmr-op­er­ated ma­chines.

“This is just the start of the jour­ney with this car,” said Turk­ing­ton, who has moved in to 13th in the stand­ings af­ter 12 rounds. “We have got some­thing to work with now and we will only im­prove.”

Reach­ing the top

It has been a tough birth for the Subaru pro­gramme and its two-litre tur­bocharged flat-four cylin­der engine.

The pow­er­plant – which had to be de­liv­ered from Ja­pan as it is not on sale in the UK – was only re­ceived by engine tuners Moun­tune at the end of Jan­uary. That meant that there was not time to ho­molo­gate a proper in­let sys­tem and, up un­til the Oul­ton Park rounds last week­end, it was us­ing the sys­tem from the road car.

Now, how­ever, the team has been al­lowed to switch to a be­spoke unit and that has trans­formed the out­put of the mo­tor.

Al­lied to that, the team had suf­fered se­ri­ous prob­lems with the de­sign of the high-pres­sure fuel rail, which failed on James Cole’s ma­chine at Don­ing­ton Park in April and caused a ma­jor fire.

The team re­worked the sys­tem ahead of Thrux­ton, but found a sim­i­lar fail­ure was pos­si­ble so chose to with­draw all four ma­chines – in­clud­ing that of team prin­ci­pal War­ren Scott – fol­low­ing qual­i­fy­ing.

The team went to Pem­brey for an in­ten­sive test ses­sion be­fore Oul­ton Park to work on the new fuel sys­tem and to as­sess the new in­let man­i­fold. The re­sults were pos­i­tive and that was the rea­son the cars showed a lot more pace last week­end.

Along with the in­let man­i­fold tweak, the team also had a re­duc­tion in turbo boost lead­ing up to the event, although BTCC tech­ni­cal of­fi­cials said they would look again at the boost lev­els once they had col­lected data.

Turk­ing­ton said that the team still had plenty of work to do on the Levorg. “We have to im­prove the straight-line speed of the car, but there are many, many ar­eas to work on,” he ex­plained.

“We got pole and won that first race with no bal­last, and even though we went in to race two with 75kg, we were helped that Oul­ton is a track that is al­ways rear-wheel-drive friendly and one where it is hard to over­take.

“Our pro­gramme is still very new, don’t for­get. We were strong at Thrux­ton in free prac­tice, but that was un­der the radar be­cause we didn’t get to race. Ev­ery time we are tak­ing to the cir­cuit, we are get­ting a lit­tle bit more from the car. We need to con­tinue that progress to be truly com­pet­i­tive – and it is a very tight cham­pi­onship this sea­son.”

Plato’s pos­i­tives

Plato was also on the pace at Oul­ton Park and scored just two points less than Turk­ing­ton by tak­ing three third placed fin­ishes. He re­verted to a more ba­sic set-up af­ter hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked on un­lock­ing se­crets from the dampers and reaped the re­wards.

“As soon as I had made that change for the sec­ond free prac­tice ses­sion and qual­i­fy­ing, I knew I had a proper rac­ing car un­der­neath me and some­thing I could work with,” Plato ex­plained.

“I was re­ally at one with the car, and I was able to make it dance – which is the first time in a long time I have had a car like that.

“We re­ally needed a re­sult like this. That was for the team, which has worked hard, and for Subaru and our back­ers. Hav­ing to with­draw from Thrux­ton was a real kick in the teeth that no one could have pre­dicted and we needed to get the ball rolling.

“The ex­cit­ing thing for me is that we are only look­ing ahead now, and there are good things down the road for us.”

Turk­ing­ton has opened 2016 ac­count Turk­ing­ton: a highly prof­itable week­end Cole had Don­ing­ton blaze

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