Turkeys number one saloon car racer Erkut Kizilirmak enjoyed an outstanding return to action in his homeland at the weekend, 26th/27th May, by taking a comfortable double victory in the opening two rounds of the 2007 Turkish Touring Car Championship at the Pinarbasi Circuit in Izmir.
The 37-year-old, who has this year become a regular in the ultra-competitive Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, decided to make the most of additional track time in Turkeys premier tin-top track series by entering one of the Arkas Racing teams Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch cars albeit, of course, with Opel branding.
Providing a timely confidence boost ahead of this weekends 10th, 11th and 12th rounds of the BTCC season at Croft Circuit, hopes are high Erkuts winning double in Turkey will translate into his most competitive outing of the year in the UK; especially considering the North Yorkshire venue is where he made his BTCC debut in 2006 with VX Racing.
After Thruxton at the start of the month we decided it would be a good idea to take one of our Astras to Turkey and make the most of some more track time by taking part in the first two rounds of the Turkish championship, said Erkut.
It was fantastic to win both races but the most important thing is that the racing helped me learn more about the car and it increased my confidence which should really help us at Croft this weekend. I cant wait to get back in my BTCC car now, particularly as it is a UK circuit I have actually raced at before!
The first action of the weekend for Erkuts Arkas Racing-entered Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch, which is prepared and maintained by Leamington-Spa specialists Tech-Speed Motorsport, will come during the opening 40-minute free practice session on Saturday, 2nd June, at 09.30 with a second free practice timetabled for 11.50.
Qualifying is scheduled to take place at 15.45 on Saturday with all three races following on Sunday, 3rd June round 10 at 12.01, round 11 at 14.45 and round 12 at 16.50. All three 15-lap encounters will be screened live on digital satellite and cable subscription channel Setanta Sports 1.
Highlights of rounds 10 and 11 and live coverage of round 12 will also be shown via Freeview, digital satellite and cable broadcaster ITV3, the transmission beginning at 15.00 on Sunday afternoon.
Alongside his full-time commitment to the British Touring Car Championship, Erkut also plans to contest further selected rounds of the Turkish series throughout the year.