Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship leaders Team BMW aim to consolidate their place at the head of the title fight as they make their annual trip to Knockhill, Scotland.
Colin Turkington re-took the lead of the Drivers’ points table with three strong finishes at Rockingham last time out and heads north of the border with a four-point advantage over his nearest rival and the maximum 75kg success ballast.
The Northern Irishman was a double winner at the 1.3-mile circuit near Edinburgh in his WSR-run BMW 125i M Sport in 2013 and has finished on the rostrum 12 times there, including a treble-podium last year.
His fast and consistent performances have kept BMW on top of the Manufacturers’ Championship for most of the season and helped put Team BMW back at the head of the Teams’ title race at Rockingham.
Colin’s team-mate is BMW Motorsport Junior driver Ricky Collard, who continues to deputise while father Rob recovers from the effects of a concussion sustained at Snetterton.
Fresh from his BTCC debut at Rockingham, in which he set the fifth-fastest lap in the first touring car race of his life, the 22-year-old from Eversley, Hampshire, is eyeing points finishes as he aims to help Team BMW’s push for the Teams’ title.
The BRDC Rising Star has fond memories of the Knockhill circuit near Dunfermline, having won there in the BTCC-supporting Formula 4 British Championship on his only previous visit.
The Knockhill triple-header on August 25-26 is the eighth of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, 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: “”Having been an instructor at Knockhill when I was studying in Stirling, I have a great affinity with the place. It’s easily one of the weekends I look forward to the most for its positive vibes and energy. With its high kerbs and undulations, the circuit is a real challenge for the driver. You need to be razor-sharp straight out of the blocks but this is the sort of place that really puts a smile on my face. The circuit is just over a mile long and there will be 31 cars jostling for position in qualifying. Securing a strong grid spot for Sunday will be key. The 125i M Sport has been successful there in the past and Team BMW will use all that experience to prepare. I’ll take it one session at a time and see we where we are come the end of the weekend.”
Ricky Collard said: “I learned so much on my debut weekend at Rockingham and I’ll go to Knockhill much stronger having had that experience. A touring car moves around so much more than the single-seaters and GT cars I’ve been used to because it doesn’t have the same amount of downforce, so it was great to get some proper mileage in at Rockingham to try and adapt to that and see how we can improve things going forwards. I’ve won at Knockhill before in Formula 4 so I know some of the tricks of getting a quick lap time around here and I’m looking forward to getting back on track.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “There are just three weekends and nine races to go in the BTCC season and you can feel the tension building that little bit more every time we tick off an event. Obviously leading the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships means we’re the ones everyone’s trying to beat, but Colin and many of the WSR team members have been in this situation before and that experience will help Ricky to get up to speed quickly after what was an impressive debut in tough circumstances. Knockhill’s been a good circuit for us as a team; especially with the BMW 125i M Sport, which has been on the podium 14 time here in the past five years, and we’re aiming to add a few more this weekend.”