Monday 26th JUNE 2000



Lotus Elise racer Matt Turner experienced the extremes of emotion at Croft in Yorkshire on Sunday, securing pole position for round seven of the Autobytel Championship but unfortunately ending his race in a gravel trap.

Pre-race testing on Friday gave no hint of the form to come as Turner's Corus and Regal Hotels car endured a day of mechanical problems, including breaking a driveshaft, a problem affecting many of the two seater sports machines. "To get a good time around here you have to use the kerbs," said Matt, " and that's causing the driveshafts to pop out."

Much overnight work with the Lotus technical team cured the car's mechanical dramas, and in qualifying both Turner and team-mate Edward Horner battled over pole position with rival Adam Wilcox. Matt was in front, by six hundredths of a second, when both his car and that of Wilcox suffered more driveshaft problems, settling the grid. "I'm confident for the race because I was consistently quick in qualifying - the car's perfect," said Matt after the session, "but keeping off the kerbs and protecting the driveshaft will be important to winning this one."

What would be a despairing race for Turner went sour right at the start, a slow getaway losing him two places, "It was terrible," he said later, "I used the same revs as usual but it bogged down." He battled hard over the opening laps, but then driveshaft problems again hit his car, forcing him into a spin.

Rejoining in eighth, Turner quickly recovered to sixth, despite the badly vibrating driveshaft, but was then spun down to 12th by rival Mark Cole. "I was coping with the driveshaft but then Mark made what was a really bad move," explained Matt.

The final disappointment came in a clash with the car of Paula Cook as both tried to go through the first corner together, Turner's Lotus burying itself in a gravel trap.

"It's too bad, really too bad, especially after getting pole position" said a very disappointed Turner. "I thought I might be able to take third in the points but now getting a result from the championship is going to be really tough."

Turner will be hoping to put his disappointment behind him in the next round of the series at Snetterton in Norfolk on 8th July.