TEAM BMW EXTENDS TEAMS’ TITLE LEAD WITH TURKINGTON DOUBLE
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington stormed back to the head of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship with a stunning double victory at Snetterton and an incredible 60-point haul.
Turkington’s superb weekend, coupled with three points finishes for team-mate Tom Oliphant, helped the squad increase its Teams’ Championship lead and BMW extend its advantage in the Manufacturers’ title race.
Starting the opening race from pole position with 48kg success ballast onboard his BMW 330i M Sport, the four-time champion pulled clear of the field as the lights went out and, despite an early attack by Tom Ingram, went on to win by over two seconds.
Race two ran in near-identical fashion, with the Northern Irishman again clear at the head of the field before an accident within sight of the finish triggered the safety car and a one-lap dash to the flag.
Unflustered, Turkington made a magnificent restart and pulled a one-second lead on the field as the safety car pulled in, driving on to take his fifth win of the year and the 56th of his career.
Setting the fastest lap each time, he reached the end of race two with a perfect 45 points from 45 and, from tenth on the partially-reversed race three grid, he completed the weekend by gaining a further two places on the run out of the final corner to snatch third place.
As a result, he now leads the Drivers’ Championship by nine points with 67 available at the Brands Hatch season finale.
Team-mate Oliphant’s race day was dealt a harsh blow at the first corner of the opening race as contact from behind sent him spinning off the track from sixth place down to 27th and last.
A mighty recovery drive with 30kg success ballast onboard his BMW brought him up to 14th by the finish.
Further progress from 14th on the race two grid gave the Leamington Spa-based racer 11th, despite coming off worst during yet more contact.
Worse was to come in race three as further contact throughout the contest resulted in a 12th-place finish.
Oliphant’s results not only kept him sixth in the Drivers’ standings but also helped BMW to become the victorious Manufacturer in all three races and made them the Teams’ Trophy winners for the event.
“It was one of my best-ever weekends in the BTCC,” buzzed Turkington. “To score 60 points is something that almost never happens, but the team did an incredible job of making the BMW so fast on maximum ballast.
“Two wins are so important at this stage of the year and standing on the top step is what it’s all about. I would have been delighted with fifth in the last race, so to be gifted third is unexpected, but really welcome. I say every year that the aim is to get to the final round in with a chance of becoming champion, and then, whatever happens, happens. To be back in front is definitely an advantage.”
“From qualifying seventh, I should have had three top-six results,” reflected Oliphant. “The BMW was really fast, and I really felt good, but from being spun around at the start of race one, things just got worse and worse. We’ve just got to forget about this, look ahead to Brands Hatch and focus on winning the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles.”
“What an absolutely fantastic weekend for the team,” added Team Principal, Dick Bennetts. “We’ve extended our lead in the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ points and Colin… what can I say? Sixty points!
“I feel very sorry for Tom. He’s had the rough end of the stick. We’ll head back to base and start preparing for Brands Hatch.”