Team BMW increased their Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship lead with a superb double podium in ultra-challenging conditions at Knockhill, Scotland.
With two second-place finishes from Colin Turkington, the WSR-run team enhanced their advantages in the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ points races with just two events remaining.
Faced with weather conditions that bordered on monsoon-like at times, the two-time title-winner put his experience to good use and scored a pair of second places and a fourth in his BMW 125i M Sport.
A dogged attack in Race Three brought him the fastest lap and put him within one second of victory at the chequered flag, but his runner-up spot still netted him a ninth podium of 2018.
The Northern Irishman’s results gained him a 49-point haul over the weekend – a total only matched by WSR stablemate Andrew Jordan, and put him 43 points to the good in the Drivers’ title race.
Team-mate Ricky Collard put in his strongest performance to date as he again stood in for his father, Rob, who continues to recover from the effects of a concussion suffered at Snetterton.
Having qualified 12th, the BMW Motorsport Junior battled hard in what was his first wet race in any form of touring car and finished 11th; going wheel-to-wheel with a host of vastly more experienced BTCC racers along the way.
He added 12th spot in Race Two, again adding vital Teams’ Championship points to Team BMW’s tally, and was on course for another score in Race Three when he was forced off the track by a rival and had to pit when a build-up of debris in the radiator intake threatened to overheat the engine.
The penultimate round of the season takes place at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on September 15-16.
Colin Turkington said: “This has been such an important weekend for the championship. We came here ahead by a small margin and have managed to increase it to quite a good one, which is always a benefit. Conditions today were tough because the intensity of the rain was changing and you never quite knew how much grip you’d had from lap to lap, but the team gave me a great car and we were able to score a lot of points. My strategy has always been to focus on myself on-track and not worry about what might be happening with my rivals and it’s paid off today.”
Ricky Collard said: “It’s been great to score my first BTCC points in Race One and then add to that total in Race Two. My job is to help us win the Teams’ Championship so I’m pleased that I’ve now contributed to an increased lead in that points table. Race Three was the least wet and my tactic was to save the tyres and attack in the final third of the race as the car came to me. Unfortunately, another driver had me off the track at Turn One and I had to pit to have debris removed from my radiator, so that removed any chance of a third points finish.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Today has been a huge team effort and everyone can be proud of the job they’ve done with the BMWs as we’ve increased our lead in all three points tables. Colin’s shown all his experience behind the wheel and scored big points in each race; which is exactly what you need to do when you’re fighting for a title, and Ricky’s put everything he learned at Rockingham into practice and scored double points, which is so important in the Teams’ Championship. We leave Scotland very happy.”