‘Our biggest challenge yet’
The eBay Motors squad faces its ‘biggest challenge’ of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship so far when the series heads to Rockingham this weekend (6/7 September) according to team boss Dick Bennetts.
Statistically the Northamptonshire venue has often been a tough hunting ground for the championship-leading outfit and all three of its drivers will be looking for a maiden success at the 1.94-mile circuit this time around.
There’s every reason to be optimistic, however, particularly following Colin Turkington’s double podium there last season. Furthermore the West Surrey Racing-run BMW 125i M Sports have undergone significant development since their 2013 championship challenge with the team arguably running the car to beat this season.
Turkington has set the ultimate pace in three of the last four meetings, with the other still being a front row start at Snetterton. The eBay Motors-backed BMWs have clearly been the weapon of choice in 2014 and with former champion Turkington behind the wheel; the pairing remains on course for their second title together.
“We’re exactly where we want to be,” enthused Turkington, who leads the drivers’ standings by 23 points. “We know that things can change very quickly in the BTCC, however, so we’ll keep on pushing until the very end.
“Rockingham hasn’t always been the easiest venue for us but we’re confident we can produce the goods this weekend.”
Team boss Dick Bennetts is equally optimistic about the task ahead, saying, “We had a couple of good wins there back in 2009. Victories at Rockingham have been a little bit hard to come by since then so you could say it’s our biggest challenge yet this season, but we’re in a better position than ever before. We’ve developed the BMWs hugely over the last 12 months, so much so that we’re confident in our abilities at almost every circuit, except maybe Silverstone, where top speed is important!
“It would be great to get a win this weekend but more importantly we need to preserve our advantage in the drivers’ and teams’ standings.”
Rob Collard has stood on the podium at Rockingham previously and the Hampshire-based driver arrives at the 11-turn circuit fresh from his first victory of the season.
The multiple BTCC race-winner was in fine form last time out at Knockhill, which culminated in Collard romping to a commanding triumph after he had seen off stable-mate Nick Foster in the early running.
“It was a great weekend at Knockhill,” said Collard. “We’ve been on the podium six times and I’ve consistently finished inside the top six, so now I want to just carry on that momentum and hopefully score some more wins.
“We’ve got a teams’ championship to win, plus of course Colin is going for the drivers’ title, but I have also got a top-three title finish in sight. Everyone in the team is just working so hard and what they have done with the BMW is incredible.”
Foster enjoyed his best weekend of the campaign so far at Knockhill, following up two top ten finishes in the opening contests with a season’s best fourth in the final showdown.
“It was good to be fighting at the front but a shame to miss out on a first podium,” he said. “Overall it was a good weekend for everyone in the team and the confidence is there wherever we go, so I’m looking forward to the fight at Rockingham.”
eBay Motors and its three hugely talented racers are always up for the fight in the BTCC, so there’s every chance there’ll be more champagne sprayed by the team this coming weekend.
You can see all of the action from rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship from Rockingham this Sunday (7 September) live and exclusively on ITV4.