Perfect qualifying strategy pays off for Turkington and Collard at #BTCC Knockhill
Colin Turkington and Rob Collard have locked out the second row of the grid at Knockhill, making the most out of the tricky weather conditions in qualifying. The two drivers put their BMW 125i M Sports third and fourth after stunning laps at the end of a complicated wet-to-dry qualifying session.
35-year-old Turkington was third fastest, despite carrying 66kg of success ballast this weekend due to being second in the championship standings. The Northern Irishman was one of the first drivers to dare venture onto slicks in the session, putting them on just after a second red flag stoppage due to a displaced advertising board.
His BMW team-mate Rob Collard’s fourth was his best qualifying result of the season, and the Hampshire-based driver was delighted after an earlier technical issue in the session looked set to leave him at the back of the grid.
Collard, third in the drivers’ championship heading to the circuit where the BMW has secured 11 podiums in 12 races at the Scottish track, had missed the bulk of the session due to a technical issue, but with two red flags causing delays, the Manufacturers’ Championship-leading team had enough time to repair his car and get it back out in time for a final run, which allowed him to qualify at the front of the grid.
Rob Collard said: “It was really bizarre, as we had some sort of an issue. I could hear something wasn’t right, and as I stopped in the pits and the car just filled up with smoke. I thought at that point it was game over, but the team changed what they needed to change and we were right back on it. The car was fantastic. We had just three flying laps to build the heat in the tyres, we found some space on the track and we were able to deliver and come in P4. If we didn’t have the red flags we’d have been absolutely KO’d there, so thankfully Knockhill with tricky conditions and a couple of people caused some red flags and that’s played into our hands. I’ve been on the other side of that and it’s cost us a good lap, but not this time.”
Colin Turkington said: “These types of qualifying sessions are a bit of a lottery, so experience helped us out. We knew we needed to get on the slick tyres early, and knew the last lap would be the quickest, and that was the case.
“You always feel like there’s the potential for more, but it’s so easy to overstep the mark on your last lap and slide off the track. The goal was to be at the sharp end, I wasn’t expecting to be on pole position with the success ballast we’re carrying, so all things considered I’m really pleased.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “I’m happy for Rob for coming back from doing almost no laps and to finish P4, and I’m also very happy for Colin as he was struggling a bit with the wets on.
“The guys did a fantastic job in sorting out Rob’s car and getting out at the end of the session, and the two red flags helped. It’s good for us when looking at the championship, as (Gordon) Shedden’s behind us ninth, so we hopefully will be in a good position tomorrow.”
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 75 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.