Third-place finish the pick of first weekend for defending champion

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Colin Turkington’s defence of the British Touring Car Championship crown featured a podium position on his debut weekend with Team BMR.

A close-season switch has placed Turkington behind the wheel of a front-wheel drive Volkswagen Passat as current British champion.

He opened the Brands Hatch Indy appearance with fourth across qualifying and a fifth-place finish in race one.

His highlight arrived in race two with third.

Turkington’s final outing of the weekend proved frustrating as he spun his car at Surtees and recovered to register 12th.

The Portadown driver’s focus will now switch to Donington Park across April 18 and 19 for the British Touring Car Championship’s second meeting.

Wins arrived for Rob Collard, Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal at Brands Hatch Indy.

Turkington entered the season sporting number one on his car in recognition of last season’s title triumph.

“Being in a new car means a new challenge,” said Turkington ahead of the weekend racing. “I’m looking forward to going back and defending my title that I fought so hard for last year.”