Team BMW will start on the front row at Croft after Colin Turkington qualified second for the latest round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on Saturday.
In a wet session, the Northern Irishman pushed hard to ensure a strong opening laptime in North Yorkshire and lay second with seven of the scheduled 30 minutes having elapsed.
But with the session stopped shortly afterwards – and not resumed – due to an 11-car incident, that time proved good enough to give the two-time BTCC champion his best qualifying result of the 2017 season.
Both Colin and team-mate Rob Collard, who have taken BMW to the head of the Manufacturers’ Championship with three wins between them, were fortunate to make it through the session-stopping incident, which was caused by oil on the circuit, unscathed.
Hampshireman Rob, who lies second in the Drivers’ Championship, and is carrying 66kg of success ballast this weekend, will start 11th, but believed a top-10 position was possible had the session resumed.
WSR has taken a record 16 wins in the BTCC at Croft and could reach major a milestone on Sunday; the team’s next win will be their 50th in the series with BMW.
Colin Turkington said: “I’d take second on the grid any day of the week – so the end result is very pleasing, but it’s been a tricky day with the weather and the red-flag incident was a big one. My lap was set early and – given the red flags – shows the importance of getting a banker lap in. I was very lucky not to get involved in the incident. I went off on the oil and somehow managed to miss both Luke Davenport’s car and the wall. I hope he’s okay. From second on the grid you just have to look ahead, get your head down and target victory. There are a lot of quick guys around, so it won’t be easy, but we have a strong car for Croft traditionally and I’m aiming to make the most of it.”
Rob Collard said: “From 11th on the grid, I just have to look forwards, make up ground at the start and maximise my points potential in Race One, and then shoot for the podium in Races Two and Three. I saw a pretty horrifying collision right ahead of me at Sunny and hit the oil myself, but because I was on an in-lap, I going slowly and was able to make it through unscathed. I just hope everyone involved is okay. With 66kg success ballast it will be tough, but I’ve won here for the past two years and am confident of strong race pace.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “To have a car on the front row is very pleasing and gives us an opportunity to possible secure our 50th BTCC win with BMW – at the same circuit where we scored our first in 2007. The competition is closer than ever before, so scoring strong results in all three races with both Colin and Rob will be extremely tough. But we’ve made our car strong enough to win at Croft for the past four years and will be aiming to score well and re-assert our position in the points table.”