Team BMW and Colin Turkington increased their British Touring Car Championship advantage with a landmark victory at Snetterton.
The Northern Irishman’s fifth win of the year, which came in Race Two, was the 10th of the year for WSR, who run the Team BMW 330i M Sports; making it the highest number of wins ever achieved in a single BTCC season by the Sunbury-on-Thames organisation.
It also helped set up the 200th BTCC podium finish for WSR’s with BMW cars; a run that began with the three-time champion’s second place at Brands Hatch on April 2007.
The three-time champion’s victory came thanks to a rocket start on the soft Dunlop rubber on a day when – uniquely – all drivers were required to use three different compounds of the tyre.
Immediately moving from fourth to second, he made a clinical move on Tom Ingram into the Wilson hairpin at half-distance and sped off to his 51st career win.
Running with the maximum success ballast in Race One, he finished fifth on the medium tyre and then finished the day with ninth on Race Three on the hard – again carrying 54kg.
Colin’s results increased his series lead to 36 points over fellow WSR driver Andrew Jordan and helped make BMW the highest-scoring manufacturer over the weekend.
Having started the opening race from 20th, team-mate Tom Oliphant opted to minimise the disadvantage of the hard tyre straight away but climbed strongly to 16th.
He added 11th in Race Two on the softs; doing so as part of a sensational battle in the midfield that featured – at times – seven cars running nose to tail.
The Leamington Spa driver’s day ended badly on the hard tyre. Having already been spun off during the race by a rival, he retired with suspension damage after being hit at the Wilson hairpin at two-thirds distance; leaving him 12th in the points.
Despite this, BMW leads the Manufacturers’ standings by an increased 73 points while Team BMW head the Teams’ Championship by 30 points.
The next round takes place at Thruxton, Hampshire, on August 17-18.
Colin Turkington said: “It’s been another very positive weekend, and today was all possible because of the great job we did in qualifying to put the BMW fifth on the grid with maximum ballast. We played the percentages with the tyre strategy and it paid off because when there was an opportunity to win in Race Two, I was able to take advantage. Race Three was tough because I had the hard tyre and a lot of the cars around me were on softs, but because of where we knew we were starting Races One and Two, it made sense to save the hard tyres to the end. The points lead is slightly larger than it was before so we move on to Thruxton aiming to keep this momentum going.”
Tom Oliphant said: “Qualifying killed my weekend. I should have been top-10, or even top-five, but I lost the lap because of track limits and that put me on the back foot. It was the right choice to take the hard tyres for Race One and I was quite pleased with the progress I made on the hard and the soft. Race Three was tough because although I was on the medium tyre, everyone around me was on soft and that meant they were faster. It still should have given me decent points, but I was hit by Matt Neal and spun off the track at The Esses, and then had broken suspension when Mark Blundell came into Aiden Moffat and me at the hairpin. Thruxton’s next and we’ll all be hoping for a better weekend.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s been a strong weekend for Team BMW; fifth win for Colin and an increased lead in the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships on a weekend when we certainly didn’t have the fastest car but kept ourselves out of trouble while our rivals ran into problems. The team did a fantastic job to maximise the potential in all circumstances and Colin’s qualifying performance set up his chance to win on the soft tyre in Race Two. To get the 10th win in a single season and the 200th podium with BMW in the BTCC are just fantastic rewards for the team that has worked so hard all year.”