Stratford’s Darren Turner charges on to GT Cup podium at Brands Hatch

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STRATFORD driver Darren Turner finished on the podium again for Feathers Motor Sport in his second outing for the team this season on the famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on Saturday.

Darren Turner in action at Brands Hatch for Feathers Motor Sport.
Darren Turner in action at Brands Hatch for Feathers Motor Sport.

Racing alongside James Guess in the team’s new Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Turner recorded a hard-earned second place in the second of the day’s 50-minute pitstop races.

This was despite the duo suffering their fair share of misfortune over the two rounds.

Coming into the event, Aston Martin works driver Turner and Guess were keen to maintain their GTH Class championship lead, having recorded two victories and a second place in the opening meeting of the season at Donington Park.

But while FMS demonstrated strong pace on the Kent circuit, with Guess qualifying third in class for the opening race in a capacity 45-car field, fortune turned against them on the first lap when he suffered a puncture through contact.

Forced to pit under the safety car, Guess fell to the back of the field, before fighting back into the pack.

The GT Cup applies success penalties for race wins however, so while Guess was able to recover, Turner took over the car with more ground to make up after waiting an additional 20s in the pits thanks to the Donington wins.

“We always knew the first race was going to be damage limitation with the success penalty,” said Turner.

“Without the puncture, James’s pace might have given us track position and allowed us to gain something from the race, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Turner gave it his all anyway, recording another series fastest lap and charging back to 10th place, which is where the car started for the second race.

This time around Guess was able to fight his way up the field without hindrance, racing to third position by the time he handed the car over to Turner.

Once again, bad luck intervened when a poorly-timed safety car period just before the pitstop gave the rival class leader nearly a lap’s advantage.

“Unfortunately the car in the overall lead was running between first and second in our class on-track,” said Turner.

“So when the safety car came out to lead the field, it allowed the GTH Class leader to gain nearly a lap on everyone.”

FMS called an early driver change to use the undercut once the race resumed, allowing Turner to pass Callum MacLeod (who pitted a lap later in the Balfe Motorsports McLaren) for second position.

He then set about hunting down the victorious Orange Racing McLaren, recovering over a minute’s deficit to the leader in 17 laps and maintaining a 100 per cent record for fastest laps so far in the series, but it wasn’t quite enough to take a third victory in six races.

“James did a brilliant stint, which gave me a great chance to fight for a podium place,” said Turner.

“To be honest, had the race been an hour long, rather than 50 minutes, we might even have been able to challenge for the victory. Nevertheless, two wins and two more podiums from six races is a good record.

“It’s always a fun weekend in GT Cup,” he added. “We are getting really good results, especially considering FMS is one of the smallest teams in the paddock.

“But the Aston Martin Vantage is always well prepared and James is coming on in leaps and bounds and gaining in confidence. I just think the season is going to get better and better.”

Turner is back in racing action at Brands Hatch again later this month when he makes his return to the British GT Championship and his GT4 Class debut in the series on 22nd and 23rd May, with the Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 alongside Matt Topham.



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