Team BMW increased their advantage in the British Touring Car Championship with three hard-fought podium finishes in a trio of ultra-challenging wet and dry races at Oulton Park.
Colin Turkington finished inside the top four in all three races at the Cheshire track to increase his Drivers’ Championship lead to 19 points, while team-mate Tom Oliphant made it a double-podium finish in Race Three.
Not only did the WSR-run outfit collect the Teams’ trophy as the top-scorers of the weekend, but BMW’s Manufacturers’ Championship lead was also increased.
Rain immediately before the start of Race One forced Colin and Tom to switch to wet tyres on the grid. Having started third with the maximum 60kg success ballast, Colin finished fourth in what was the wettest of the three races in his BMW 330i M Sport.
Tom, meanwhile, had started on used wets, which should have helped him if track conditions improved. As this didn’t happen, his grip levels were severely reduced towards the end and he finished 12th.
Race Two took place on a damp, but drying, circuit; Colin moving forwards and securing third spot with a demon ‘around the outside’ overtaking move by the Northern Irishman at two-thirds distance at Hizzy’s chicane.
An equally-impressive late surge from Tom – who grew up just four miles from the circuit in Tarporley – included three fantastically-executed passing moves in the final handful of laps and brought him to sixth spot at the chequered flag.
A dry final race provided both drivers’ best results. A strong getaway from fifth on the grid brought Tom up to second place by the end of lap one and onto the tail of the leader.
Colin, meanwhile, passed four cars on the opening lap to run fourth and then repeated his Race Two move at the chicane to move into a podium position.
Tom and Colin’s positions were switched as the race entered the closing stages with the aim of making sure both were given a opportunity to attack the leader and improve the team’s chances of success.
Unfortunately, neither got the chance as the race was red-flagged three laps from home due to an incident, and a result declared with Colin on the podium for the sixth time in 2020 in second spot and Tom securing his third rostrum finish of the year on the final step.
Tom’s result means he leaves Oulton Park in fourth place in the points as the BTCC prepares to head even further north to Knockhill in a few days time.
Colin Turkington said: “It’s been a great day and I leave feeling really positive. The wet conditions were extremely tough, especially in Race One, but we took the maximum points available. We had more pace in Race Two and and – although passing is difficult here – my persistence paid off and I got past Dan [Cammish] for third. Tom helped me in Race Three by letting me by and I definitely owe him one for that. All in all it’s been great teamwork by Team BMW and WSR this weekend. We came here to do a job and we did it.”
Tom Oliphant said: “To finish a pretty tough raceday with a podium is great. We needed a result to rescue the weekend and we got it. We thought it was going to stop raining in Race One so we went for used wet tyres that should have helped us. Instead it rained harder and I had less grip as we went on. It was much better in Race Two and I’m pleased with the couple of late moves, and then in Race Three I had a great first lap and was challenging Adam [Morgan] for the win. I was asked to help the team’s championship chances by letting Colin by and I obliged. I might have had second back by the finish, but the red flag meant it didn’t happen. I’m still pleased with another podium.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s been a strong raceday for Team BMW. We’ve had wet, damp and dry races today, which is about the toughest combination you can get, so I have to say a huge congratulations to the WSR team for being so adaptable to the changing conditions, and to the drivers for both finishing all three races. It was a very good team effort and the result is three podiums and an increased lead in all three championships. Colin’s shown all his class to finish in the top four in all three races and Tom’s been a real team player in Race Three and once again shown very good race pace in the dry. We won’t forget what he did for the team effort today. After he let Colin by, we had a plan to switch the positions back if Colin couldn’t take the lead, but unfortunately the red flag meant that never happened.”