Team BMW head to Donington Park this weekend for the second round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship aiming to strengthen BMW’s position at the top of the Manufacturers’ points table.
The performances of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard at Brands Hatch put the German manufacturer at the head of the standings as well as helping the WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport to achieve a landmark 100th podium finish in the series.
Now the pair are determined to chalk up more valuable points for the Sunbury-on-Thames-based team at the demanding 1.9-mile East Midlands venue.
Colin, from Portadown, Northern Ireland, lies sixth in the Drivers’ Championship and carries 33kg of success ballast as a result.
The two-time BTCC champion took the first victory for the BMW 125i M Sport at Donington in 2013 and has two pole positions and four wins at the circuit – including one last year – to his name.
Rob, from Eversley, Hampshire, scored his first BTCC podium at Donington in 2005 with WSR and has recorded two wins and five rostrum finishes there – including a charging drive from sixth to second last year.
Having suffered a challenging weekend at Brands Hatch, Rob is confident of a better time at Donington as he aims to climb the championship table and elevate Team BMW from their current eighth spot in the Teams’ title race.
The Donington triple-header on April 28-29 is the second of 10 events in this year’s 60th anniversary BTCC season, which takes in nine circuits the length and breadth of the country. Each race will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.
Colin Turkington said: “It was great to secure a podium on our first race of 2018 at Brands Hatch but an unfortunate issue with the car had me fighting back for Races Two and Three. Despite this, we left feeling optimistic about the pace and potential of the BMW. It’s a long season ahead! It’s time to look ahead to Donington now and I’m aiming for a similar trio of results to last year. It was here I collected my first win of 2017 and took two further top-five finishes. This year looks more competitive than ever though so we must ensure we’ve done our homework before the weekend.”
Rob Collard said: “I’m treating Donington as the start of my season. I’ve had some great results there in the past, including my first BTCC podium, a second-place finish last year and two wins. We’ve certainly been able to show the BMW’s speed there over the past couple of seasons to a greater level than before, which shows the top job the team’s doing. I’m not carrying any success ballast into the weekend so that will help as I aim to make a big jump up the championship table.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Brands Hatch was a mixed weekend for Team BMW. On the one hand, we’re pleased to have started the defence of BMW’s Manufacturers’ title by being the top scorers at the opening round, but we also suffered some unfortunate issues that meant we weren’t able to build on Colin’s podium in Race One. Since then, we’ve had a solid test at Thruxton and we now head to Donington – where we’ve won three times in the past five years with the BMW 125i M Sport – in good shape. Traditionally it’s been a track that’s favoured the front-wheel-drive cars, but we have a strong engineering team and they’ve helped us close the gap in recent years.”