Team BMW have vowed to fight for every position possible following a tough qualifying day at the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch.
The WSR-run team lead both the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships with just Sunday’s three races to go while Colin Turkington lies second in the Drivers’ title race, 10 points away from the series lead.
Colin, from Northern Ireland, suffered electronic issues with his BMW 125i M Sport in both opening practice and in qualifying, restricting the two-time BTCC champion’s time on track. He qualified 17th.
Colin’s team-mate Rob Collard, who had been involved in a high-speed accident at the previous round at Silverstone, took part in free practice after a heroic effort by the WSR team to build-up a new car around a spare chassis.
Unfortunately, following second practice, Rob was forced to withdraw from the remainder of the event on medical advice.
Colin Turkington said: “That was a tough qualifying session. I had an issue with my car from the first lap, but the guys did a terrific job to get me back on track for the second half of the session. Seventeenth isn’t where we should be, but it’s still halfway up the grid and a lot better than being at the back. Today wasn’t our day, but we’ll keep trying our very best right to the end and tomorrow is where you score the points, so we’re still in this. I can feel the speed is in the car; we just needed another run to unlock it, so this is positive for tomorrow.”
Rob Collard said: “I’ve been a championship challenger for most of the season, so It’s a massive shame not to be able to finish it. I’ve recovered well since the accident at Silverstone, passed the concussion test I took here yesterday and felt fine driving in free practice. I started to feel dizzy when I got out of the car so I went for a check-up with the BTCC Medical Team who, unfortunately, have advised me not to drive. I’ll be here tomorrow supporting Colin and the team as best as I can as they aim for the championship.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Today has been an extremely tough day for the team. It’s disappointing to lose Rob after practice, but obviously his health is the most important thing, so we wish him a quick return to full fitness. Colin’s car suffered an electronic issue in practice and then in qualifying, which cost him time in both sessions. The team did a fantastic job to get the BMW back on track, which allowed him to qualify halfway up the grid. Tomorrow will be a big challenge, but we have three championships to play for and we’ll give it everything we have.”