Team BMW produced a strong British Touring Car Championship qualifying performance at Knockhill with Colin Turkington and Tom Oliphant finishing what proved to be an ultra-competitive session sixth and seventh respectively.
Colin, who is chasing a record-equalling fourth BTCC title, secured a third-row start for the first of Sunday’s three races, despite being laden with 54kg success ballast – a legacy of his position as championship leader.
Having finished outside the top 10 in both practice sessions, the Northern Irishman remained towards the front of the field throughout, ultimately setting a time good enough for sixth, despite being blocked on his final flying lap.
Leamington Spa-based racer Tom built on his impressive practice pace to ensure that all three WSR BMWs will start the opening encounter around the Fife circuit inside the top seven.
Making progress as the session wore on, Tom powered into seventh in the closing stages – putting himself in prime position to help maintain BMW’s lead in the Manufacturers’ standings and regain the top spot in the Teams’ Championship.
All three of Sunday’s BTCC races from Knockhill will be screened live on ITV4 in HD, with coverage scheduled to begin at 1100.
Colin Turkington said: “Considering that we have full ballast and at how tight it is around here, I’m happy with sixth. We’ve made good progress throughout the day, tested a lot of things and I think the car was at its best in qualifying. We’re about where we should be. There is potentially a little bit left on the table, but we’ll have to find that tomorrow. We’re on-course for what should hopefully be another strong race day.”
Tom Oliphant said: “You’ve got to be happy with seventh, but on the flip side, I would have liked to have been higher, especially as we have no ballast. I think when you match up all of my best sectors, the time is there, it is just so competitive out there. We’re in a great place for tomorrow’s three races however and we’re in a good position to come away with some solid results.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It has been a fantastic qualifying session; to have Colin and Tom inside the top seven is brilliant. The BMWs are the fastest rear-wheel-drive cars and both drivers have been on the pace since first turning a wheel this morning. The focus now turns to race day and ensuring that we maintain our advantages in both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships whilst also trying to regain the lead in the Teams’ standings.”