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Ulsterman Colin Turkington is one of the duo of young chargers who will be racing the Team Atomic Kitten MG Touring Cars in this season's British Touring Car Championship. A winner of seven races on his way to a saloon title last season, the 19-year-old will be starting only his second full season of motorsport at the very highest level, but the university student is a cool customer and is looking forward to the challenge.

Team Atomic Kitten promise to be an exciting mix of the music and motorsport worlds - what are your thoughts on that?

Colin Turkington: “It's brilliant to have the Atomic Kitten girls so involved in the team! We've had a big launch and there will be a lot of publicity associated with that, and I'm sure that will bode well for the future.”

In 2001 you were the Fiesta champion - and that was just your first full season of motorsport?

CT: “It was! The Fiesta championship was a very difficult competition and it was great to win it, and it has proven to be a great opportunity that has led to bigger and better things.”

Now that you've actually driven the MG - what was your first drive in a Touring Car like?

CT: “We tested at Snetterton and my initial impressions were that the car was just excellent!

“Obviously there's a lot more speed involved, but the car is so beautifully balanced that it's very user-friendly so it didn't take me too long to get the hang of driving it.”

Is it a much more physical car to drive than cars you have raced before?

CT: “Very much so. You've got very wide tyres and there are things like downforce to consider, so there's a lot more physical effort involved in driving the car.”

You're going to be going from the 12 to 15 lap races you've been used to maybe 50 laps of the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, are you having to work hard on your fitness levels?

CT: “Definitely - I'm preparing myself as well as I can for the season. It's not often a driver like me gets an opportunity like this, so I'm planning to make the most of it and get some good results for the team. Hopefully either Gareth [Howell] or myself can take the Independents title.”

Beforehand you've always fitted your motor racing in around your education, and you are currently studying at Stirling University - how is that going to work once the season starts?

CT: “I'm not too sure! It very hard at the moment juggling both careers, but I'm going to try to keep the studying going - it's good to have two separate things happening at once. Maybe the studying will be something to fall back on, but I'll be putting my full effort into racing this year, and hopefully getting the best out of that.”

Team Atomic Kitten isn't going to appear at Brands Hatch, but the cars are going to be out at the next meeting, Oulton Park, for the first time. What are going to be your goals from your maiden meeting?

CT: “Our goals from the first meetings are just to get settled into the Touring Car scene, get a few good results under our belt, and I want to work well with Gareth and the team.”

Check out Gareth Howells Site
 
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