Team BMW increased their lead at the head of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as the series resumed with a thrilling day of racing at Snetterton.
Colin Turkington and Rob Collard each took two excellent podium finishes to close in on the lead of the Drivers’ Championship and help BMW extend their advantage in the Manufacturers’ points race. Two-time series champion Colin Turkington led the opening race comfortably, but was unfortunate to spin on a slippery section of track, dropping to seventh in the results. The Northern Irishman, from Portadown, made amends with a fine second place in Race Two and third in Race Three to emerge as the top scorer for the weekend. He climbed to second place in the Drivers’ Championship and lies just two points off the series lead.
From 10th on the Race One grid, Hampshire racer Rob finished ninth in his WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport and then added third and second places later in the day to maintain his record as the only driver to score points in every race and finish on the podium at every event in 2017. Rob lies third in the Drivers’ Championship, just four points from the series lead.
The combined efforts of the pair, who each set a fastest lap, netted Sunbury-on-Thames-based Team BMW the HiQ Teams’ Trophy for the weekend, which was accepted on the podium by Colin’s son, Lewis Turkington and Chief Truckie and Tyre Technician Simon ‘Tippa’ Wood.
The BTCC continues north of the border with a trip to Knockhill, Scotland, on August 12-13.
Colin Turkington said: “It’s been a very good weekend for me and the team as a whole. Two podiums mean a lot of points and I’m now only two points off the Championship lead, which is exactly the kind of place I need to be as we get towards the business end of the season. I was pretty frustrated to lose the win in Race One because I was concentrating on just controlling things at the front, but you never know; I may not have had this big an overall score if I’d won that one, so I’m taking this whole weekend as major positive.”
Rob Collard said: “I’m very pleased with the weekend. I’ve more than halved the gap to the lead of the championship and I’m now only four points behind, which is nothing really. My strategy today was to take whatever points I could with the weight on the car in Race One and then put the hammer down in Race Two. The BMW was just superb today; I’ve been able to put it exactly where I wanted and I’ve come away with a second and a third, which maintains my record of a podium at every round and puts me in a very strong position for Knockhill next month.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s been a very good day for Team BMW. Four podiums, two fastest laps, highest-scoring team, increased leads in the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships and Colin and Rob within four points of the Drivers’ Championship lead. There’s not much more we could have asked for. As usual, we didn’t have the out-and-out fastest car this weekend, but we used some of the data gathered here in testing to good effect and that’s definitely helped us this weekend. We leave Snetterton in good shape.”
About West Surrey Racing
Founded by New Zealander Dick Bennetts in 1981, West Surrey Racing are one of Europe’s most successful racing teams, having tasted success with World Champion drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Tom Kristensen, Nigel Mansell, Allan McNish and Andy Priaulx. After becoming the most successful team in the British Formula 3 Championship during the 1980s, WSR moved into the British Touring Car Championship and have continued their extraordinary run of success. As well as running race-winning factory BTCC programmes for Ford, Honda and MG, WSR have taken five outright championship titles, nine independents’ crowns and 71 race victories. They are also race winners in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Based in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, WSR currently contest the BTCC with the BMW 125i M Sport.