Monday 12th JUNE 2000



Lotus Elise American racer Matt Turner secured a tremendous equal best finish of the year at Silverstone, United Kingdom on Sunday, earning vital points for fourth place after a battling race in which he led team-mate Edward Horner home.

Turner's drive from 7th on the grid saw his Corus and Regal Hotels car finish fifth on the road, but produced fourth place in round five of the Autobytel Lotus Elise Championship. Guesting rally champion Gwyndaf Evans took fourth - shocking all the regular Lotus leaders - but did not score points.

Turner was on form right from the start of Friday testing, when in his first trouble free test session of the year he proved consistently quickest, 4/10ths clear of his rivals. Saturday's qualifying session brought only frustration however, with a crowded track preventing Turner reproducing Friday's times.

"I could not get a clear lap," he said after the session. "I came in holding fourth and changed the tyre pressures, but they never came back to their best grip and I finished seventh. I know what went wrong so I'm confident for the race." Judging the green light well at the start - held over 24 minutes plus one lap - Turner briefly lost his seventh place at the first corner, but within two more corners had moved up to sixth. This soon became fifth as a rival ahead spun.

As the race went on Turner found himself part of a big battling pack of cars, whose manoeuvres entertained the Silverstone crowd. Headlights ablaze he tried hard to close on the cars ahead of him and assumed fifth on the road when Peter Cate spun off the circuit. Turner held onto his place at the flag, team-mate Edward Horner behind, and happily accepted fourth in the points thanks to non-scoring rally man Evans.

"I had a normal start - lost one, gained two," said Turner after the race. "After I got Ben Devlin he tried to pass me again but I just held on. I'm pretty happy and the points for fourth are welcome - especially as I had a bit of a gearshift problem - it was making me miss a gear every other lap. I'm making consistent improvements."

The series now moves to Yorkshire circuit Croft in two weeks time. Matt has carried out much testing and development work at Croft, so he is confident of producing a strong performance to move into championship contention.