Gray Area- IRISH DRIVERS AROUND THE GLOBE- WITH ANDY GRAY #msirl

Colin Turkington was awarded victory in race three in an eventful second round of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park.

In treacherous conditions, Turkington crossed the line second in the final race of the day, but was awarded the victory when Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic was excluded after failing a ride height test. Mr Consistency across the meeting, the Team BMW driver picked up fourth and fifth placed finished in the first two races of the day with battling performances.

Race three was originally red flagged after cars aquaplaned off the circuit as the rain poured down on the Leicestershire venue. At the restart, Turkington managed to get past pole sitter Dave Newsham to take second place as Shedden stormed away to take the chequered flag. With Shedden’s exclusion, the Portadown driver moves up to second in the championship, 15 points behind Tom Ingram.

Aron Taylor-Smith had a frustrating event, clashing with MG team mate Dan Lloyd in race one at the top of Craner Curves, an incident which gave Taylor-Smith a puncture and forced Llyod into the barriers. The Dublin driver came home in 18th in race two, losing out on the final lap to Chris Smiley, but starred in race three, securing his best finish of the season by coming home in ninth place.

It was another disappointing event for Chris Smiley, who left Donington empty handed despite showing top-ten pace throughout the event. Smiley, who starred at the pre-season test at the same venue last month, finished eighth in both practice sessions but could only qualify in 20th. In race one he worked his way up to 16th place before damage from a botched overtake attempt from Tom Chilton forced both drivers out on the spot.

In race two, Smiley soared through the pack from 26th place. He ran as high as 22nd, but dropped to 29th with five laps to go. Remarkably, in the final stages, Smiley rose to 17th place. A sensational effort from the Carrickfergus driver. In race three, Smiley had worked his way into the top 10 by the time of the red flag, but was forced to start from the pit lane at the restart. Once again Smiley starred, rising up the order to climb into the top 20, finishing 18th before Shedden’s exclusion promoted him further up the order. No points, but if the 25-year-old continues his pace next time out at Thruxton then points will not be far away.

There was more success in the support races for Charlie Eastwood and Dan Harper, who both collected wins in the Porsche Carrera Cup and Ginetta Junior series respectively.

Eastwood dominated the Carrera Cup as title rival Dan Cammish struggled. The talented Belfast racer claimed pole position for both races, leading from the front and leading home the chasing back on both occasions. Eastwood leads the championship thanks to his efforts, four points ahead of Cammish.

Dan Harper also rose up the standings in the Ginetta Juniors. He was a front runner all weekend, taking pole and victory in race two.  A podium in race three and a solid sixth place finish in race three moves the youngster into second in the championship table, only five points off the lead.

Reece Barr in action in the MINI Challenge series

Meanwhile, Reece Barr and James Turkington were in MINI Challenge action at Oulton Park on Easter Monday. Turkington, younger brother of BTCC star Colin, showed strong pace in race one, coming home in fifth place with Reece Barr just behind in sixth. In race two, Barr collected another sixth-place finish while Turkington was forced to retire after being forced onto the grass by Jeff Smith.

Finally, in a busy weekend for Irish racing, Templepatrick driver Wayne Boyd collected a podium in the opening round of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) at Silverstone.