Team BMW took the lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Teams’ Championship with victory for Colin Turkington at Donington Park on Sunday.
The two-time BTCC champion, who returned to WSR-run Team BMW at the start of the season, triumphed in an ultra-wet final race of the day at the East Midlands circuit.
The Northern Irishman had earlier delivered strong fourth and fifth places and set the fastest lap of the opening race. His 42nd BTCC victory was also the 71st for WSR and the second BMW success of the season, following Andrew Jordan’s win for BMW Pirtek Racing at Brands Hatch.
Colin moved up to second place in the Drivers’ Championship while BMW’s lead at the head of the Manufacturers’ points was also increased.
Team-mate Rob Collard had earlier secured a hard-fought second place of his own in Race Two; the Hampshire racer charging through from sixth on the grid to take his second podium finish of the 2017 season and the 55th of his BTCC career.
He had earlier finished sixth in Race One, but was denied any chance of a similar result in the wet finale when he was spun around on the opening lap and sustained a hard hit from another car while pointing backwards on the grass.
With the race being stopped instantly, Rob was able to return to the grid under his own steam and take part in the restarted encounter, but with significant damage to his left-rear suspension, his pace was severely hampered and he needed a gutsy drive to finish 12th.
Rob’s results put him fifth in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the trip to his local circuit, Thruxton, for the next event on May 6-7.
Colin Turkington said: “To come away with a victory from a track like Donington; where we’d pretty much accepted we’d be on damage-limitation duty, is fantastic and I’m absolutely made up for everyone at Team BMW and WSR. The conditions were dreadful at the start of Race Three; I was struggling to see through all the spray, but things worked out nicely in the end. To be able to score good points with fourth and fifth is extremely helpful for the championship and puts us in a great position heading to Thruxton.”
Rob Collard said: “I was pretty content with my qualifying pace, even if the result was 13th on the grid, and – as usual – the speed we showed in race conditions was very strong. I was very pleased to finish second in Race Two because things were pretty tight at times. Race Three was frustrating because I was hit pretty hard on the first lap and damaged my suspension, which became more of a problem as the race went on and the track went from being full wet to greasy, because I had almost no grip under acceleration, so 12th was the result.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “After qualifying, I’d said it was the aim to protect BMW’s position at the head of the Manufacturers’ Championship. Instead, we’ve increased that advantage, made Team BMW the highest-scoring team of the weekend and had a race win with Colin, which has put him into second place in the drivers’ standings. Rob’s podium finish was well-deserved and it was a shame that he wasn’t able to show what he could do in the wet after he was turned around on the first lap. Overall, it’s been a very strong weekend and one that justifies the hard work and long hours put in by the whole team at WSR over the past few weeks.”