Team BMW enjoyed an excellent Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Knockhill.
Drivers’ Championship leader Colin Turkington qualified a superb fourth, despite carrying the maximum 75kg success ballast aboard his WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport.
The result put the Northern Irishman, a two-time series champion, ahead of all his key title rivals with three races, guaranteed to be action-filled, to come on Sunday.
Team-mate Ricky Collard defied his lack of touring car experience to qualify a career-best 12th; the 22-year-old from Eversley, Hampshire, only four tenths of a second away from pole position.
The BMW Motorsport Junior and his crew had worked hard throughout the day to improve his pace considerably from the opening practice session, in which he was 20th fastest, and were rewarded with a spot on the sixth row.
Team BMW lead the Teams’ Championship while BMW head the Manufacturers’ points race with just two rounds of the series remaining after Knockhill.
Colin Turkington said: “To be on the second row here with maximum ballast is fantastic. The car was so much better in qualifying than it had been in practice and that’s down to some brilliant work by the team. There’s a little bit of frustration in that there was definitely a faster lap to be had, but with so many cars on track, it just wasn’t possible to piece it all together. Tomorrow we’re expecting rain and with the resurfacing they’ve done here, it’s a bit of a step into the unknown as to what the grip will be like, but we’ll get stuck in and give it everything we’ve got.”
Ricky Collard said: “It’s great to qualify in what’s a points-scoring position for only my second BTCC meeting and we’ve worked really well to improve the performance of the BMW from practice through to qualifying. It’s important for me to score here for the Teams’ Championship because it’s my main reason for being here. I’ve never raced a touring car in the wet so if the expected rain comes tomorrow that will be quite fun. I’ve always gone well in the wet in other types of car so I’ll give it my best and see what we can do.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Today has been a very good day. We’ve had a lot of success at Knockhill with the BMW and today we were able to call on all the engineering expertise we have in the team to improve both Colin’s car and Ricky’s throughout the sessions. From 18th and 20th in the opening practice to fourth and 12th in qualifying is a big gain and both drivers did an excellent job. It puts us in the hunt for some good points tomorrow, although the weather forecast looks unpredictable, so we’ll be examining all options tonight.”