Team BMW head to Donington Park for the second round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship aiming to consolidate BMW’s position at the head of the Manufacturers’ points.
Colin Turkington and Rob Collard each took a podium finish at the Brands Hatch season-opening event as BMW returned to the BTCC in an official capacity after a 21-year break. Now the pair are determined to add yet more silverware to the WSR-run team’s collection at the demanding 2.0-mile circuit, which is a favourite among drivers and fans for its flowing nature and excellent viewing spots.
Hampshire racer Rob lies fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and carries 39kg of success ballast as a result of his position.
He claimed his first BTCC podium finish at Donington in 2003 and is a two-time winner at the East Midlands venue; most recently last year when a tenacious drive brought him a sensational victory from sixth on the grid in his BMW.Northern Irishman Turkington lies seventh and carries 27kg of ballast after recovering to a fine second place of his own in Race Three at Brands Hatch behind the similarly WSR-run BMW of Andrew Jordan. The two-time BTCC champion took the BMW 125i M Sport’s maiden series win at Donington in 2013 at what was only the WSR-designed-and-built car’s second event. He has three Donington wins and two poles in the BTCC.
The Donington triple-header on April 15-16 is the second of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, which takes in nine circuits the length and breadth of the country. Each race will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.
Colin Turkington said: “I’m looking forward to Donington as it’s a great track and one where I’ve won in the past. Unfortunately, being taken out at the start at Brands Hatch has left us with some ground to make up in the points race – even at this early stage of the season – because the BTCC is one of those series where you have to maximise every race. The front-wheel-drive cars are usually at a bit of an advantage at Donington, but the BMW bucked that trend by winning last year, so I’m optimistic about what we can achieve.”
Rob Collard said: “Donington is a fantastic circuit; the track where I took my first win of 2016 and one I love, despite it tending to favour front-wheel-drive cars. I achieved my first podium in the BTCC at Donington, and I’ve won there twice in BMWs, so that gives me a lot of encouragement heading into the weekend. What fills me with even more confidence is that the BMW was fast around Brands Hatch and that we were able to show this in race conditions, so I think we can amass a good points haul this weekend.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “To be able to put BMW on top of the Manufacturers’ Championship after Brands Hatch was beyond expectations and has set the bar high. We now move on to Donington with the aim of holding on to that spot and helping Team BMW, Colin and Rob improve theirs. Typically Donington is a circuit that favours the front-wheel-drive cars, but both Colin and Rob have won there in WSR BMWs over the past couple of years and we were the top-scoring team there in 2016, so we’re optimistic of our chances.”