Effective immediately, Colin Turkington will no longer be considered as an Independent Trophy competitor, World Touring Car Championship series bosses have revealed.
The reigning British Touring Car Championship joined the series two rounds ago at Portugal, and immediately impressed with some strong results. Most incredible were his back-to-back podium finishes last time out at Brands Hatch, and after he qualified third for this weekend’s event at the Czech Republic, series organisers have stripped him of his Independent Trophy status.
Turkington (pictured) is competing with an ‘old’ spec BMW 320si independently run by West Surrey Racing and with backing from eBay Motors. The rule of the WTCC allow cars deemed to have been homologated eighteen months ago to run with less performance ballast than the ‘newer’ rivals – Turkington is running with some 50kg less ballast than the front-running BMW 320si, SEAT León TDI and Chevrolet Cruze – presenting them with a significant advantage in terms of competitiveness.
“To establish the regulations for the 2010 Independents’ Trophy, it was decided to make the turbodiesel cars not eligible – because of their performances – and the race-by-race entries eligible,” said series boss Marcello Lotti.
“Since then things happened that made those decisions inappropriate.
“The dispute over the ‘old’ and ‘new’ cars and the arrival of a race-by-race entered car [Turkington] that has even better performance than the turbo diesels. Therefore I took the decision to make these changes in order to preserve the spirit of the trophy, and also not to unbalance the competition among the full season competitors.”
Turkington is no longer eligible for points and prize money in the Independents’ Trophy class and can only compete for drivers’ championship points in the overall standings. This mirrors the situation for Norbert Michelisz, Michel Nykjær and Fredy Barth, who already compete under the same rules – as León TDI runners – despite running as entrants independent of the primary SEAT SR Sport operation.
Series bosses have also revealed that Independent Trophy drivers will no longer score additional bonus points for finishing in the outright top-ten of any WTCC race.