Adam Morgan scored his second podium finish of the season at Thruxton as WSR and BMW maintained their push for the British Touring Car Championship.
The Team BMW driver started the final race of the day from pole position on the partially-reversed grid and finished in a strong second place aboard his BMW 330e M Sport at the series fastest circuit.
The Lancashire racer had been one of the stars of the opening race as he climbed from 15th on the grid to eighth spot, but was boxed in by a rival with a lap to go and fell to 13th.
He added 12th in Race Two and now sits eighth in the points while his results elevated Team BMW to second place in the Teams’ Championship and maintained BMW’s second spot in the Manufacturers’ points.
Team-mate Colin Turkington and Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill both drove consistently throughout race day after qualifying sixth and fifth.
Both recorded fourth-place finishes with Kent racer Jake taking the position in Races One and Two and Colin doing likewise in Race Three.
Jake was restricted to 10th in the reversed-grid race while four-time series champion Colin had been sixth twice – the latter result coming after a well-judged last-lap move.
Colin maintained third place in the Drivers’ points while Jake moved up a spot to fourth.
Leicester’s Stephen Jelley started the opener alongside Adam, but was turned around by a rival at Thruxton’s infamous chicane and spent the rest of the race fighting back from last to 19th. He added 18th and 16th in the day’s other races.
The next round takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on June 17-18, after which the series reaches its midway point and its summer break.
Adam Morgan, Team BMW, said: “If you’d told me after qualifying that I’d finish on the podium today, I’d have taken it with both hands. We had the pace to be inside the top eight today, as I proved in the opening race when I got up there from 15th but then got boxed in and shuffled back on the last lap. We showed the potential of the BMW in that race. I couldn’t make progress in Race Two because my relative pace was the same as the cars around me, but we had a bit of luck with the Race Three draw and the podium is the result. I knew that if I got caught, it would be tough to stay ahead. I made a small mistake and had to settle for second, but it’s a decent result to take to Oulton.”
Colin Turkington, Team BMW, said: “Today was about damage limitation. We had to maximise what we had and get good points if we could, so with that in mind it’s not a bad day. Ultimately when you’re at a track that you know doesn’t suit your car, and you still score decent points, you’re reasonably satisfied. As well as that, we did make progress with the set-up for Race Three after going the wrong way with some changes for Race Two. We’re not out of this fight, but we need to think about what we do now to find extra speed for Oulton and beyond.”
Stephen Jelley, Team BMW, said: “There were points available today, so it’s disappointing not to score any. I qualified next to Adam so if I hadn’t been turned around at the chicane, there’s every reason to think I could have had the reversed-grid pole and been on the podium – like I was last year. In the last race another car was spitting out oil – the same car that spun me in Race One – and I slid on it and lost a couple of places, which sums up the day. It’s been a hard weekend and getting past a load of cars who have pretty much the same pace as you is difficult, but the balance of the BMW is good. That’s something we’ll have to use to our advantage in the coming races.”
Jake Hill, Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport, said: “I’m not satisfied with two fourths today, even though I said yesterday that I would be. It was sensible points this weekend, but not what I was hoping for. It’s incredibly hard to pass at a track like Thruxton when the cars you’re around all have similar pace. You get in behind another car and you just lose the front grip and that keeps you bogged down in the pack. We need a performance lift for Oulton and a way to close the gap to the front. It’s not a big lift, but we need something because it’s not easy to fight for wins right now.
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Today was always going to be a bit of damage limitation because Thruxton favours front-wheel drive touring cars, so to come away with a podium is a good result for Team BMW and especially for Adam. Jake’s gone up a spot in the championship and Colin’s scored consistently in all three races so we’re still there in the hunt. We need to look at ways of getting back onto the top step of the podium, but Oulton Park and Croft, which are next up, should give us a fighting chance of doing that.