Team BMW’s Colin Turkington closed in on the lead of the British Touring Car Championship with a deserved race victory at Silverstone, while team-mate Tom Oliphant also celebrated a podium finish.
Colin’s Race-Two win made him only the third driver in BTCC history to achieve 150 podium finishes and moved him to within four points of the series lead, having begun raceday 16 adrift.
The four-time champion battled hard to finish fourth in Race One while carrying 54kg success ballast, but was able to drive his WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport to the front of the field in Race Two with a reduced 42kg on board.
The Northern Irishman snatched tenth place on the final lap of Race Three to help Team BMW retain the lead of the Teams’ Championship and BMW remain on top in the Manufacturers’ title race.
Tom’s Race Two performance was one of the starring performances of the day as the Brands Hatch race winner, who retired from the opening race with a suspension issue, charged through the field from 25th to ninth.
Drawn on pole position on Race Three’s partially-reversed grid, the Leamington Spa racer was beaten off the line by a front-wheel-drive rival and became embroiled in a race-long fight for victory; eventually finishing second.
His fourth podium finish of the year not only kept him in sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship, but also helped the 30-year-old to exceed his 2019 end-of-season points total with nine races to go of the current campaign.
Colin Turkington said: “It’s always nice to celebrate a win, and to get it at a track where I’ve only ever won once before in the BTCC is even better. The big takeaway from the weekend is that I’ve more than halved the gap to the lead of the championship, which gives us back some of the momentum we lost at Thruxton. We could do with a bit more straightline speed though because some of the other cars had a big advantage over us in that area. Reaching 150 podiums is a nice achievement and it gives me a lot of pride to reach that number. It’s probably an indication of the quality of team and car – like WSR and the BMWs – I’ve had during my career.”
Tom Oliphant said: “It’s nice to be back on the podium after what started out as a pretty tough raceday. If you’d told me I’d finish second after retiring from the first race and starting 25th in Race Two, I’d have taken it, but to start from pole and not win is a bit disappointing. The BMW is magic when the success ballast comes out and in Race Two I could pass people on the brakes, but we’re losing out in straightline speed against some cars in particular, and our starts have taken a huge hit with the startline boost reduction we’ve been given. Some of the drivers just ahead of me in the points have had a DNF today so that’s kept me in the hunt for the top three positions and I’ll go to Croft with a lot of confidence.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s always nice to win, and for Colin to close in on the Drivers’ Championship the way he has – at a circuit where we haven’t often been able to maximise our equipment – is pleasing. Both Colin and Tom drove the wheels off the BMWs in the corners to make up for the straightline speed disadvantage we seem to have developed against some of the other cars. We appear to be losing out quite a bit at the start of races now, which is an area where a rear-wheel-drive car should have an advantage over front-wheel-drive cars, and we saw that here and at Thruxton.”