Colin Turkington and Rob Collard are aiming to claw back vital points in Sunday’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Oulton Park.
Two-time champion Colin put his Team BMW 125i M Sport ninth on the grid for the first of the three races; significantly outqualifying the top three drivers in the points table.
The Northern Irishman, who has scored six wins and 13 podium finishes at the Cheshire circuit during his BTCC career, had previously set the fourth-best time in the second practice session, indicating the BMW’s strong race pace.
Colin currently holds fifth in the Drivers’ points with Team BMW fourth in the Team’s standings and BMW second in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Team-mate Rob Collard – a six-time podium finisher at Oulton Park in the BTCC – worked hard on car set-up throughout practice and qualifying and made excellent progress.
His reward was a season’s-best 12th place in qualifying and an excellent opportunity of making even more improvements on raceday at a circuit at which he has a rich history of making spectacular and effective overtaking moves.
Colin Turkington said: “The big plus from today is that I’ve outqualified all but one of the drivers I’m aiming to get ahead of in the championship and have a very good chance of taking back some big points tomorrow and improving my place in the standings. I’d hoped to qualify higher than ninth today, but the weight makes such a difference to your pace here and almost all the cars ahead of me are ballast-free. Tomorrow’s another day and I’m definitely looking higher up the order.”
Rob Collard said: “I’m relatively pleased with the way the day’s gone. From not having a great opening practice, it’s very encouraging that we’ve worked on the set-up and improved our performances in each session and the result is that I’ve taken my best qualifying position of the year in 12th. As a race car, the BMW is excellent here and Oulton is one of my favourite circuits, plus I’ve always managed to overtake quite a lot of cars here so I’m confident I can move forwards tomorrow.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Today’s been a mixed day for us. Ninth and 12th aren’t where we’d hoped to be, but when you look into all of the sessions more closely, you can see that Rob’s best sectors in qualifying would have put him on the third row, and Colin’s free-practice pace is another indication of the raw pace we have in the BMW here. The big points are on offer on race day so we’ve been building towards that and I’m confident both drivers can make significant progress tomorrow.”