Sensational victories for Colin Turkington and Rob Collard gave BMW a landmark 100th race win in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton on Sunday (May 7).
The wins not only increased the BTCC Teams’ Championship lead of WSR-run Team BMW, but also maintained BMW’s advantage at the head of the Manufacturers’ title race.
From 10th on the Race Two grid, Hampshireman Rob leapt up to third place at the start and had moved his BMW 125i M Sport into the lead by the time the race was red-flagged after three laps.
At the restart he drove away from the field to take his first win of the 2017 season and the 14th of his BTCC career in a race that was declared short of its intended distance due to an accident.
Northern Irishman Colin followed that up with a commanding victory from pole position in the reversed-grid third race, achieving BMW’s 100th BTCC success and the 48th achieved with Sunbury-on-Thames-based WSR.
Added to seventh and sixth places earlier in the day, Colin’s second win of the year ensured he left Thruxton third in the Drivers’ Championship. Rob’s 10th and seventh places in the other races – the latter result coming with a full 75kg of success ballast – puts him fourth overall.
The next event takes place at Oulton Park in Cheshire on May 20-21.
Colin Turkington said: “I’m incredibly proud to take the 100th BTCC win for BMW; a company with such an incredible record of success in touring car racing, and doubly so because I grew up watching Jo Winkelhock and Steve Soper and wishing one day I could do the same as them. We didn’t have the fastest car today at what isn’t traditionally a rear-wheel-drive circuit, but we definitely worked the hardest to make sure we had enough pace when it counted. Without the reversed-grid pole, I’m not sure we could have won today, but we’ve made it work for us and it’s a very special day for the whole team.”
Rob Collard said: “It feels fantastic to get a victory so early in the season and to do it at my local circuit – especially as Thruxton isn’t a track we expected to win at. We’ve worked hard to maximise not just the starts, but the early laps, and the results have been very good today. With the full ballast of 75kg in Race Three it was always going to be difficult to finish well, so seventh was a very useful haul of points to add to those achieved earlier in the day and it means we go to Oulton Park – a track we’re normally strong at – in very good shape.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We are immensely proud to have scored BMW’s 100th win in the British Touring Car Championship. We’ve run BMWs since 2007 and they’ve been a fantastic partner throughout that time. Rob drove magnificently in Race Two, making a great start and really braving it out at the chicane when he was three-wide early on. I think the race being stopped and declared early helped us, because I’m not sure what would have happened if it had gone the full distance. We were fortunate to have Colin drawn on pole for Race Three, but he made the most of it and drove beautifully. Colin and Rob are now third and fourth in the points and we’re leading the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ standings, so it’s been a very satisfying weekend.”
BTCC Drivers’ Championship after 3/10 rounds
1. Tom Ingram 131pts
2. Gordon Shedden 114
3. Colin Turkington 112
4. Rob Collard 103
5. Adam Morgan 96
1. Team BMW 209
2. Halfords Yuasa Racing 182
3. Speedworks Motorsport 187
1. BMW 259
2. Honda 226
3. Vauxhall 187