Colin Turkington confident ahead BTCC title showdown
It has been a whirlwind two weeks for the eBay Motors team as it targets both the BTCC drivers’ and teams’ titles at the Brands Hatch season finale this weekend (11/12 October).
Colin Turkington currently leads the standings by 50 points having produced a series of standout performances throughout the 2014 campaign, and the Ulsterman is now within touching distance of securing his second tin-top crown.
Things haven’t gone completely to plan for eBay Motors in the run-up to the event, however, after Rob Collard’s recent high-speed accident at Silverstone left the team working flat-out in an attempt to build a new machine for the Hampshire driver (see video below for a replay of the crash).
“It has been an extremely busy time and a huge effort from everyone at the team,” said Team Boss Dick Bennetts. “We only got the shell back on Wednesday evening and the guys worked through the night, as they will again this evening. Everyone is working around the clock and the guys are putting in a monumental effort to try and get Rob out on track – barring any dramas we should be okay.”
Collard’s car barrel-rolled dramatically following unfortunate contact with a spinning rival at the home of the British Grand Prix, which led to the Hampshire driver being air lifted to hospital for precautionary checks. Rob thankfully suffered no ill effects from the accident and has since been passed fit to race.
“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I know the team are trying everything to get the car ready so fingers crossed I make it out there to help eBay Motors win the teams’ championship and obviously support Colin where I can.”
The squad’s main focus of course is on 32-year-old Turkington who has been the standout driver throughout this record-breaking BTCC season. Up against a capacity 31-car grid – including a total of six other former champions – Colin has scored eight race victories and a further ten visits to the rostrum. He holds a commanding advantage in the standings going into the final event but with double champion Jason Plato standing in his way, Turkington knows he needs to be at the top of his game.
“It’s a huge weekend for the team and I,” he said. “Everyone has worked so hard for this and now is the time to get the job done. I’m just looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the eBay Motors BMW. I’m feeling relaxed and the car should be on the pace, as it has been throughout the year.
“In my mind I have to approach this like any other weekend and I’ve always said that attack is the best form of defence in the BTCC. Being conservative is not really an option as it can sometimes lead to more trouble – it’s best to be fighting at the front. I need to be on the same part of the track as Jason and I’m happy to go toe-to-toe with him if necessary.
“I’m sure it will be pretty intense, like it was at Silverstone last time out, but we’re up for the fight and I’m looking forward to it. I want this more than ever and I’m so focused on trying to win the championship, which would be just reward for the effort put in by everyone involved.”
Nick Foster will also be looking to end his season on a high as well as helping the West Surrey Racing squad to claim the overall teams’ title. He enjoyed a good run around the Brands Hatch Indy layout at the start of the season – scoring a fifth place finish – and he’ll be hoping to beat his season’s best of fourth as Britain’s best championship takes on the legendary Grand Prix circuit.
“It’s a great driver’s track,” said Foster. “It’s really challenging with lots of undulations and different types of corners. Things didn’t go to plan there for me last season so I’m hoping to put that right by ending the season on a really good note, which I hope results in Colin winning the championship, eBay Motors taking the teams’ title and hopefully I’ll grab some good results for myself too.”
Team Boss Bennetts – who has masterminded the careers of drivers like Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello – has seen it all before of course, but the legendary motorsport figure is as determined as ever to win the championship.
“We’ll have a strategy meeting to discuss the permutations with Colin and the team,” said Dick. “The problem is that this is the British Touring Car Championship and any best laid plans can sometimes be hard to achieve. Anything can happen of course but I have the utmost confidence and belief in everyone in the team. Colin is an extremely quick, professional and intelligent driver so if anyone can get it done it’ll be him.”
Here’s an image of Rob’s car being rebuilt: