Colin Turkington has reached the summit of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for the first time since his 2009 title success, claiming a dominant double victory at Oulton Park today (8 June).
The 32-year-old dictated proceedings from the outset, securing pole position in a damp qualifying session on Saturday ahead of MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save’s Jason Plato and Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden.
eBay Motors went on to enjoy a one-two finish in Sunday’s opening race in perfect conditions as Turkington held off a sustained challenge from team-mate Rob Collard.
Collard got the jump on Plato and Shedden off the line and was able to protect the sister BMW ahead of him in the opening laps. The duo gradually pulled clear and although Collard remained in touching distance for the entire race, he was never close enough to make a move on Turkington. Plato and Shedden held station behind with the former completing the podium positions.
Turkington doubled up in commanding fashion as he stormed to his fourth win of the season in the second contest, whilst fans’ favourite Rob Austin reached the rostrum for the first time in 2014 with a second place finish. Collard impressed again with another podium as he moved into the championship top five.
Irishman Aron Smith scored a second career victory in the final showdown, leading from lights-to-flag in treacherous conditions after a deluge of rain descended on the Cheshire circuit shortly before the start. Despite coming under intense pressure throughout, the VW driver brought the car home to claim a maiden success for Team BMR.
Shedden took second to move within nine points of Turkington in the standings; completing a trio of top five finishes for the Scotsman. Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal endured a forgettable weekend, however, as the Honda driver could only muster a best of 12th place and he now risks being cut adrift from the main contenders.
Reigning champion Andrew Jordan didn’t fair much better as he not only relinquished his lead in the standings but slipped some 25 points back after collecting his lowest event points haul since 2011.
Colin Turkington said: “It has been stunning as races like that are never easy. It might look as though it is but I can assure it’s definitely not. It’s absolutely vital that when you’ve got a fast car that you maximise every opportunity, so I’m delighted with the wins. We felt the weight a lot more in the wet in race three – it was a really tough one and I had to graft hard to stay up there. It’s been a brilliant day for eBay Motors, two wins and a fourth is amazing.”
Gordon Shedden said: “Of course, you’re always targeting pole positions, fastest laps and wins, but to come away from Oulton with a fourth, a fifth and a second was a really strong result. There were a lot of quick cars out there – including us – and championship charges are often based upon making the best out of tricky weekends. It was great to finish the weekend on the podium. We achieved what was probably the maximum we could have got from the three races and have closed the gap slightly to the top of the championship – and the importance of keeping in the hunt at this stage of the season really cannot be underestimated.”
Aron Smith said: “The team deserves this one – the lads have been unbelievable since the start of the year and it’s amazing that all their work has paid off. Out front is where you want to be when it’s wet! I felt I could manage the gap and I knew that the car had the pace if I came under pressure. I had to be careful not to overuse the tyres once it started drying up, but coming out of the last corner the radio went a bit crazy and I could finally relax. We’ve done a three-day test at Croft – it was actually the first time I drove car – so we’ll have a fighting chance there too!”
2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Oulton Park
1. Colin TURKINGTON (eBay Motors): 12 Laps
2. Rob COLLARD (eBay Motors): +2.692
3. Jason PLATO (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +5.429
4. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +7.628
5. Rob AUSTIN (Exocet Racing): +8.357
6. Sam TORDOFF (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +12.275
1. Colin TURKINGTON (eBay Motors): 14 Laps
2. Rob AUSTIN (Exocet Racing): +5.148
3. Rob COLLARD (eBay Motors): +5.317
4. Jason PLATO (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +5.701
5. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +6.279
6. Mat JACKSON (Airwaves Racing): +8.944
1. Aron SMITH (Chrome Edition Restart Racing): 13 Laps
2. Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +0.846
3. Colin TURKINGTON (eBay Motors): +2.214
4. Jason PLATO (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +2.640
5. Rob AUSTIN (Exocet Racing): +3.273
6. Sam TORDOFF (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save): +3.519
Click here for the classification from Oulton Park.
Hunter Abbott received an official reprimand and two points on his licence for an incident involving Warren Scott
Matt Neal received a 1s time penalty for an incident involving Alain Menu
Alain Menu received a 0.4s penalty and three points on his licence for an incident involving Andrew Jordan
Alain Menu received a further two points on his licence and an official reprimand for an incident involving Fabrizio Giovanardi
Fabrizio Giovanardi received an official reprimand and two points on his licence for an incident involving Glynn Geddie
Rob Collard received a 3.5s time penalty after passing Rob Austin under safety car conditions
Jason Plato received a 1.5s time penalty for an incident involving Colin Turkington