The myths and fables of times past would often see champions pitched into battle, seemingly against insuperable odds: The opening gambits setting remarkable scenes before the introduction of Act 2 and the hero’s journey towards conquest.
Be under no illusion, Ash Sutton might currently lead the 2019 British Touring Car Championship, but that doesn’t mean Colin Turkington will let him win it. What we witnessed at Donington last weekend was a true master at his art. Turkington’s drive, ambition and command all skilfully combined to put the triple champion firmly onto pole position, and supremely placed to harvest the points potential that a TOCA weekend now offers.
The BTCC isn’t just Britain’s most important race series, it’s also the most competitive, and this year’s grid simply brims with talent; champions and hopefuls all jostling for positions that will edge them closer to one of motor sport’s most sought after prizes.
Sutton has already proved himself to be one of its brightest stars; but Turkington’s class remains on a different level, as is that of his new BMW 330i M Sport that’s arrived fresh out-of-the-box and has already chalked up three wins from the first six races (a remarkable record for any car, let alone a newcomer). This doesn’t mean we should not expect individual moments of magic and glory from others; simply that with the level of competition now so high and the grids so close, I struggle to see who can divert the Northern Irishman off his course.
But the season’s just begun, so bring on the next race, which sets off in a fortnight at the fast and flowing Thruxton circuit.
Here are twenty of our favourite images from last weekend.
* * *
Images: Steve Hindle (The Black Stuff).