Stratford and Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner extends his British GT Pro-Am Championship lead
DARREN Turner enjoyed the most successful British GT event of his career at Oulton Park last weekend, taking a pole position, an outright class win and a further podium as he and Newbridge Motorsport co-driver Matt Topham extended their Pro-Am Championship lead to 14.5 points.
The duo were the dominant package with their Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for much of the double-header weekend at the Cheshire venue, setting the class pace in practice and taking pole for both of the hour-long races.
An overall win and a third-place Pro-Am finish in very wet conditions means the pair have only missed out on the podium once in their six starts together, and have now scored three Pro-Am victories (including ones at Silverstone and Spa).
With the event being a double-header both drivers qualified independently, with each responsible for earning a race grid slot, rather than putting together a combined lap.
Topham went first and duly recorded pole for race one.
Stratford racer Turner was next up and his 1:42.982 time to secure pole for race two would stand as the fastest GT4 lap of the weekend.
Topham allowed caution to play the better part of valour in the early stages of the first race, letting the Silver Cup title-chasing BMW move ahead.
Content to run second through his stint, Topham then handed the car over to Turner in the stops, and without a pit-lane success penalty to serve, the duo assumed a healthy lead.
After their Silverstone debut, this victory marked the second time Turner and Topham had won the GT4 class outright.
Torrential rain changed the complexion of the second race, which Turner started from his pole position.
With the conditions treacherous and the battle at the front of GT4 heated, Turner was content to sit in third position in the early stages and keep a watching brief until the inevitable safety car period.
This could have played into the team’s hands, given the ten-second success penalty they had to serve for winning race one, but unfortunately Turner had a radio issue.
The car in front of him continued on and Turner decided to follow him because the potential time penalty for pitting outside of the window would have been disastrous.
It meant Turner and Topham missed out on track position when the former did pit a lap later.
Turner handed the car over to Topham, who rejoined at the back of the train and put on another charge to race his way back up to third in class by the end of the race.
Turner and Topham now share the Pro-Am Championship lead with 143 points from their nearest rivals Nick Halstead and Jamie Stanley on 128.5, meaning Turner is now within sight of his first ever British GT Championship title.
Before the British GT finale, which takes place at Donington Park on 16th-17th October, Turner will take part in his favourite event of the year, the Goodwood Revival, this weekend.