Turkington scores Subaru’s first win
Colin Turkington claimed the first ever Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory for Subaru after producing a lights-to-flag performance in the opening contest at Oulton Park.
The double BTCC champion made a decent getaway from pole position and was able to resist the attentions of Sam Tordoff’s Team JCT600 with GardX BMW in the early running, before gradually stretching away in the latter stages.
It’s an historic result for the Japanese marque which had so far endured a baptism of fire on its introduction to Britain’s biggest motor sport series. Challenging weekends at Brands Hatch and Donington Park were followed by the team pulling out of the Thruxton event due to safety concerns with its fuel system. Tireless hard work, updates to the car and a two-day test have since led to an impressive turnaround, culminating in this fantastic result at the Cheshire circuit.
“I’m delighted for the team,” enthused Turkington. “This result is good for me, but it’s even better for all the guys who have put in so much hard work and until now got nothing back. The performance of the car has really progressed since the first three weekends; we’ve found the Levorg’s sweet spot and the whole package is really moving forward. We know there’s still more work to do and race two will be a bit of a step into the unknown as we’ve never carried any weight before, so I’m not so sure the next one will be quite as easy…”
While Turkington was leading from pillar-to-post, Tordoff was enjoying a similarly trouble free contest, having blasted by Daniel Lloyd’s Honda off the line.
“I’m very pleased,” said Tordoff. “It’s important to score big points, so this is a solid start. With Colin being on the soft tyres and us the mediums, we thought the race would come back to us a bit and it didn’t, which was a little bit of a shame – the Subaru seemed to have a bit more pace in the bag when it counted. The goal now is to score some more big points in race two and then consolidate in race three.”
Lloyd hustled extremely well in only his third BTCC event, although he was shuffled further down the order by more experienced drivers. Gordon Shedden’s Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda nipped by the at the Island hairpin on lap two, before Jason Plato followed suit in slightly more aggressive fashion on the seventh tour. Rookie Lloyd eventually finished sixth after Tom Ingram’s Toyota pulled up alongside the Eurotech Racing machine on the run to the finish line, and went on to clinch fifth by just 0.139s.
Shedden’s third place came under threat from Plato’s Silverline Subaru BMR Racing machine shortly after mid-distance and a battle ensued between the two BTCC legends over the next few laps. Reigning champion Shedden defended valiantly on a number of occasions, before Plato was finally able to nudge the nose of his Levorg up the inside of the orange Civic Type R at the end of lap 12. Plato made the move stick into turn one and from there he pulled away to make it a fantastic one-three for Subaru.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for the whole team and I’m absolutely chuffed for Colin and everybody involved,” beamed Plato. “This project has been five years in the making and it’s been an epic journey. We’ve got something really special here – BMR isn’t a big team, but everybody has done a fantastic job and what they’ve achieved is the most beautiful piece of engineering I’ve ever seen in a touring car.”
Ashley Sutton tumbled down the pack from sixth place on the same lap, as part of an Ingram scrap and the other MG of Josh Cook. The latter took seventh behind Ingram and Lloyd, whilst Aron Smith and Matt Neal followed in eighth and ninth respectively. Andrew Jordan’s Pirtek-backed Ford Focus completed the top ten order.
There was great racing throughout the field, highlighted by an eye-catching side-by-side duel between Aiden Moffat’s Mercedes and Rob Austin’s Toyota in the lower reaches of the top 20. The pair ran alongside eachother for the best part of a lap as a gaggle of cars looked on, proving that no quarter is given in the BTCC regardless of the position being contested.
All 32 cars were classified at the finish although there was one worrying sign for Silverline Subaru BMR Racing on the slowing down lap, when Warren Scott pulled off with what seemed like a fire in his Levorg.
Races two and three will take place at 14:45 and 15:55 respectively with the entire race day now being broadcast live on ITV4.
2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 10 – Oulton Park
1 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing 21m 56.702s
2 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +2.424s
3 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +9.954s
4 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +3.429s
5 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +16.249s
6 Dan LLOYD (GBR) Eurotech Racing +16.388s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +19.119s
8 Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +19.312s
9 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +20.395s
10 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +20.819s
11 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +21.064s
12 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +21.367s
13 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +22.008s
14 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +28.017s
15 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +28.401s
16 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +29.407s
17 Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing+31.797s
18 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +32.374s
19 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +32.514s
20 Daniel WELCH (GBR) Goodstone Racing +32.619s
21 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +37.672s
22 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +39.319s
23 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +39.893s
24 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +41.874s
25 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +42.260s
26 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com +45.759s
27 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +45.914s
28 Chris SMILEY (GBR) TLC Racing +47.526s
29 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +54.693s
30 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing with Team Parker +1:36.614s
31 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +2 laps
32 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +2 laps