Team BMW scored a landmark result on a thrilling day of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship racing at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
A second-placed finish for Rob Collard was not only the Hampshire driver’s fourth podium of the season, but also an incredible 150th for WSR in the BTCC since joining forces with BMW.
Rob’s podium result came in Race Two after he made a superb start from fifth on the grid and passed the sister BMW of Andrew Jordan early on.
He added fifth and sixth-placed finishes to move up to second in the Drivers’ Championship and maintain BMW’s advantage at the head of the Manufacturers’ points.
His team-mate Colin Turkington, by contrast, suffered a frustrating day as a Race One incident left him unable to turn his excellent fourth place from qualifying into a solid result.
The two-time BTCC champion was challenging for third place in Race One when he was brake-tested by rival driver Aiden Moffat nearing the finish.
The ensuing contact damaged the front of the BMW 125i M Sport, causing an air blockage and starving the engine of power. He was forced to back off for the remainder of the race and finished 29th.
A superb Race Two recovery drive – in which he was again assaulted several times by rivals – netted the Northern Irishman 13th and a handful of points, while his best finish of the day came with fifth in Race Three. He lies fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
The next event takes place at Croft, North Yorkshire, on June 10-11.
Rob Collard said: “I’m extremely proud to take the 150th BTCC podium for WSR with BMW and very pleased to score another podium, which puts me in a strong position in the points. The BMW has been very strong all weekend, as it usually is here, and three top-five finishes is exactly what’s needed to keep up a head of steam in the title fight. The shortening of Race Two possibly cost me the chance to challenge for the win, because my end-of-race pace was quicker than the car ahead, but I guess we’ll never know.”
Colin Turkington said: “Today just didn’t go our way. In Race One I was looking good for fourth or maybe third, but there was an incident with Aiden Moffat that restricted the airflow into the engine and meant I had no power. That ruined my race and the rest of the day. The BMW chassis is fantastic and I was able to use it to climb from the back to 13th in Race Two and then to fifth in Race Three, but it’s a smaller points total than I was aiming for. On the positive side, we go to Croft with reduced ballast, which can only help our chances there.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “After scoring BMW’s 100th BTCC race win at Thruxton, we’ve achieved our own milestone today by taking WSR’s 150th podium in the series with BMW – 10 years after the first. I’m very pleased with the consistency shown by Rob all season; he’s finished on the podium at each event and is the only driver to score points in every race in 2017, and he’s in a strong championship position as a result. Colin’s weekend was ruined by one incident in Race One, but he still did the maximum possible in the circumstances and will surely bounce back at Croft.”
BTCC Drivers’ Championship after 4/10 rounds
1. Gordon Shedden 157pts
2. Rob Collard 141
3. Tom Ingram 132
4. Colin Turkington 126
5. Matt Neal 124
1. Halfords Yuasa Racing 272
2. Team BMW 261
3. Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 128
1. BMW 330
2. Honda 322
3. Subaru 243