WSR-run cars raced to four British Touring Car Championship podium finishes at Snetterton on Sunday as Team BMW collected the award for the top-scoring team of the weekend.
Both Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington took their BMW 330e M Sports to a pair of podium finishes each while Stephen Jelley and Adam Morgan produced ultra-consistent scores across the day.
The results of the four BMW 330e M Sports also allowed BMW to close to within three points of the lead of the Manufacturers’ standings at the Norfolk circuit with three of 10 BTCC rounds complete.
Colin and Jake started the opening race from the second row and staked their claims for rostrum results early on as they took full advantage of having chosen the soft Goodyear tyre (on a day when rules dictated that soft, medium and hard compounds were all used).
Jake passed his WSR stablemate at three-quarters distance and chased down the leader; eventually finishing just 0.270s away from victory, while Colin – a 10-time BTCC race winner at Snetterton, was third.
Opting for the medium tyre for Race Two, both drivers found the going tougher, but persevered to again finish second and third.
On both occasions BMW was the winning Manufacturer entrant; the performances of the day meaning the German marque is well and truly in the hunt for a record 10th BTCC Manufacturers’ title and an eighth in a row.
The BMW 330e M Sport has now finished on the podium eight times from the opening three weekends of 2023 with Team BMW moving into second place in the Teams’ standings as a result.
Race Three was the toughest of the day with both drivers on the hard tyre when overcast conditions favoured those on the soft and medium rubber far more than predicted. Colin finished seventh with Jake 10th.
Lancashire’s Adam Morgan moved up a spot from his sixth place on the Race One grid to come home fifth and then finished there again in Race Two.
He battled hard to finish ninth on the hard tyre in Race Three as Team BMW ended the weekend with the Teams’ trophy as the highest-scoring entrant at Snetterton.
Stephen Jelley was one of the undoubted stars of the opening race; the Leicester driver charging through from a season’s-best 10th on the grid to finish sixth with some impressive and clean out-braking moves.
He repeated that result in each of the remaining races to leave Snetterton with his best weekend points haul of 2023 and with seven-place gain in the Drivers’ Standings. He is now 12th overall.
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) said: “Overall it’s been a good day. The BMW’s been quick in Races One and Two and even in the last race I don’t think we could have done any better with the hard tyre. It’s strange because I feel a bit disheartened with two second places just because the car that won was uncatchable. But on the whole two seconds is great and we move on to Thruxton where I’ve been strong for the past few years and aim to get the first win of 2023 there.”
Colin Turkington (Team BMW) said: “Any weekend where you’re on the podium twice gives you a fair bit to celebrate, and I think we pretty much achieved the maximum possible to be fast on all three tyre compounds. We went soft-medium-hard on the tyre strategy and I’m sure we went the right way, even though Race Three was very difficult on the hard tyre. We have some very good circuits coming up and as we get into the summer and the hotter temperatures that come with it, that should suit us and give us our big chance to attack.”
Adam Morgan (Team BMW) said: “Overall it was a good points day that made up for the low score at Brands Hatch. The driver in me says I still need to find a couple of tenths to compete with Colin and Jake, but I’m generally pretty pleased. It was difficult on the hard tyre, but it would have been worse to be on the hard earlier in the day. It’s my biggest score of the year and we can definitely make more progress going forwards.”
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “That’s my biggest points day for a little while and I’m really pleased with how things have gone. Three sixth-place finishes were all hard in their own way. Race One was the best because with the soft tyre I could pass cars anywhere, Race Two was quite stable and then I was really hanging on with the hard in Race Three, so to be the top BMW drivers – ahead of Colin, Jake and Adam, who are all really good drivers – is pretty satisfying. This can be the start of a much better run of form.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “I’m very happy that all four cars finished all three races in the top 10, scored good points and suffered very little damage. That makes life easier for the mechanics in preparing them for Thruxton as there’s been a lot to do between Brands Hatch and here. Deciding on the tyre strategy was quite straightforward so we went the same way with all four BMWs and I believe it was the right way to go in terms of the results we achieved. We’ve had four podiums from three races, won the Teams’ Trophy with Team BMW and two Manufacturer wins so when you weigh all that up, we leave Snetterton very pleased and in a strong position as we prepare for the middle part of the championship.”