Team BMW aim to hold points lead, Pirtek and Jordan confident
Team BMW heads to Snetterton this weekend aiming to maintain its position as Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship leaders as the season resumes after its summer break.
The WSR-run outfit leads the Teams’ Championship after 15 of 30 races while BMW is ahead in the Manufacturers’ points race thanks to four victories and 10 podiums from Rob Collard and Colin Turkington.
Hampshire racer Collard is enjoying his best BTCC campaign to date with a record number of points and podiums by the midway point. The only driver to score points in every race so far in 2017, he lies second in the Drivers’ Championship.
He claimed his best Snetterton result last year with a second-place finish following a sensational battle in race three, and is aiming for a big haul of points, despite heading into the weekend carrying 66kgs of success ballast.
Northern Irishman Turkington has won at Snetterton four times in the BTCC and has been victorious at the 2.99-mile Norfolk circuit in each of the past two seasons.
The two-time champion was a winner at Croft last time out to move up to third in the Drivers’ tally and carries 57kgs this weekend.
Collard said: “The first half of the season has gone superbly; I’ve been on the podium at every event and am the only driver to finish in the points in every race. I’m second in the Drivers’ Championship, which is exactly where I was this time last year, but I’m 21 points better off, which shows the continuing improvements of the Team BMW 125i M Sport and my driving. That level of consistency is what wins championships and the aim is certainly to continue that form at Snetterton.”
Turkington said: “I have a little bit of ground to make up because of a bad weekend at Oulton Park, and that proves you need to maximise your points at every event to stay in contention. I’ve won at Snetterton four times so I’m pretty optimistic that I can score well this weekend and continue to close in on the lead of the points table.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We’ve had a strong season so far, maximising our performances when we needed to, rather than by having the out-and-out fastest car. Now we come to Snetterton, which has been a good circuit for the BMW since the layout was changed in 2011. Rob and Colin are well placed and therefore both are heavy ballast-wise, but this is nothing unusual when you’re fighting for titles and we’ll use the information gathered in testing here a few weeks ago to help us this weekend.”
Meanwhile, at BMW Pirtek Racing, Andrew Jordan heads into the sixth meeting of the season sitting seventh in the championship standings after a mixed start to his first year at the wheel of his West Surrey Racing-run BMW 125i M Sport.
Wins at Donington Park and Oulton Park have been the undoubted high for the 28-year-old, who has led more laps than anyone else at the half-way point of the season, while 13 points scoring finishes in 15 starts have helped BMW Pirtek Racing to fifth in the Teams’ Championship.
The last meeting before the summer break proved to be the most challenging of the season so far for Andrew after his car was extensively damaged in a qualifying accident, with his team working round the clock to ensure he was able to compete on race day.
With the BMW now fully repaired, and a successful two-day test at the Norfolk circuit under his belt, Andrew goes into the weekend in confident mood and with his sights firmly set on returning to the front of the field.
Jordan said: “Croft was a tough weekend because of the incident in qualifying, and it was a bonus that we even raced there on the Sunday given the condition that the car was in,” he said.
“The boys at WSR performed a real miracle to get the BMW in a position where we could compete, and the summer break has given the team the chance to not only fix the car, but to look at how we can improve it going into the second half of the year.
“The six week break seems to have really dragged and I can’t wait to get back in the car this weekend, especially at a circuit where the BMW should be good. I think we found some gains during the test earlier in the month and I go to Snetterton with wins, podiums and a good haul of points as my aim.”