Double podium for Turkington and Team BMW at Thruxton
Team BMW enjoyed a profitable weekend in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, with Colin Turkington producing two storming second-place finishes in the first and second races of day.
That double podium provided Turkington with his 125th and 126th visits to the rostrum in the BTCC and he followed those up with fifth spot later on in his WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport. This represented a 47-point haul – the highest total achieved by any driver on the day and enough to vault the two-time champion up to fifth in the Drivers’ standings.
The Northern Irishman made a brilliant start from the front row in race one and battled for the lead for much of the opening lap. After that, he chased the leader all the way to the flag, claiming his 50th fastest lap in the BTCC and breaking the 16-year-old lap record around Thruxton in the process.
Laden with 66kg success ballast in the second race, Turkington this time took the lead into Allard. He led for 10 laps before being caught by Josh Cook’s lighter Power Maxed TAG Racing Vauxhall, which he was unable to keep behind despite a valiant defence.
Turkington started race three from fifth – again carrying a hefty 66kg of success ballast. Whilst a third podium of the day proved elusive, he was delighted with his day’s work all things considered.
“My job at the moment is to score as many points as I can and we definitely got the maximum from the BMW,” said Turkington. “It was a really good day, so it’s job done and on to the next one. My car has been strong even with weight on-board and it’s a nice feeling to have led for the first time this year in race two.
“When somebody is coming with a significantly quicker car at that stage of the race, then you have to assess whether it is better to defend like your life depends on it or be clever and not get dragged into the pack. I decided to be sensible. The points difference between winning and second is not so much, and I had already led a lap so that’s a point and I was trying to use my head.
“I knew what I had to do at Thruxton and this was the event that could either make or break my 2018 championship attack. It was important to focus on my performance behind the wheel and deliver the maximum from my car. Team BMW did a fantastic job in preparing a car that gave me confidence to really attack the high speed corners.
“I was able to test the limits from the beginning on Saturday and the balance by the end of race three was as close to perfect as I think we’ll ever get at Thruxton!
“We came, we saw and we conquered! It’s been a special weekend but it didn’t just happen by chance. It was the result of extreme hard work, dedication and expertise. To finally get a reward for our efforts is a great feeling. We needed that!”
Team-mate Rob Collard had a tougher day. Once he got in to his stride, he was able to fight up to 10th position in the last race of the day. This, added to his 11th spot in race one, contributed 11 vital points to his tally.
“We changed the set-up of the car for the last race and stiffened it up a little bit, and that suited me better,” said Collard. “Race three was good, but it just wasn’t my day. It was a bit of a frustrating weekend for us and we haven’t done as well as we hoped in the championship.
“Next we have Oulton Park, where we are back on what I would call a conventional racing circuit. The BMW goes very well there and I’ve always gone well there, so I am looking forward to it a lot.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, added: “Colin has done an excellent job with two second places. I’m very pleased. To get two podiums, especially in race two with 66kg on-board, he did a great job. Rob didn’t have such a good day, but we’ve had completely reliable cars and no issues this weekend, so well done to everyone. It feels as if we have got our momentum back and we are looking forward to Oulton Park.”