Rivals praise champion Turkington
|By Jamie O'Leary||Monday, October 5th 2009, 15:23 GMT|
Fabrizio Giovanardi and Jason Plato were quick to pay tribute to Colin Turkington after the Northern Irishman won his maiden British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
Vauxhall driver Giovanardi, the champion in 2007 and '08, reduced his arrears to the WSR BMW driver from 13 points to eight by the end of the final round and, like Plato, remained in the title hunt into the final race.
"It's been a great season, but we just didn't have enough to beat Colin," said the Italian. "He deserved to win the drivers' championship; he's driven well and didn't make any mistakes.
"It was going to be difficult when he was ahead of me, as he was very careful and didn't give us any opportunities. Of course I'm disappointed that I didn't take the title, particularly as it was Vauxhall's last chance to do it [before quitting the series]."
Plato, who won the 2001 title, became only the second man in BTCC history to win three races in a day and snatched second place in the championship from Giovanardi.
He too commended Turkington, while at the same time praising the RML Chevrolet squad for the progress made with the Lacetti since the mid-season break.
"Colin's been consistent all year and this is the result - you have to give him a pat on the back for the job he's done," said Plato.
"From my point of view, it's been a brilliant weekend and we couldn't have asked for more. For the second half of the year we've had the pace. We had a few little reliability issues and I made some mistakes at the beginning of the year, so it just shows how far we've come.
"If I couldn't have won the championship today, which was a long shot, then I would at least want to go out with a bang, which is exactly what we've achieved here today with three race wins - something I've not achieved before."