Team BMW maintain BTCC lead

GardX, BMW, Rockingham, Racing, Cars, Motorsport, Protect X, Auto-sector, Drivers, BTCC, Colin Turkington, Rob Collard

Team BMW maintained their lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a podium finish for Colin Turkington at Rockingham.

The WSR-run team head both the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ standings with just two rounds remaining after Turkington mounted the rostrum for the 11th time in 2017.

The Northern Irishman, who won both of his BTCC titles with WSR, carried the maximum 75kg success ballast into the weekend and secured a hard-fought sixth place in Race One.

He then added third and sixth places in the day’s remaining races and lies second in the Drivers’ Championship.

His team-mate, Rob Collard, lost vital ground in the race for the Drivers’ title with an unfortunate retirement from Race Three.

After finishing 17th and eighth in the day’s opening two encounters, the Hampshire driver had climbed to fourth in Race Three and was on course for a podium finish when late contact with another car pitched him into the barrier and out of the race.

Despite his increased gap to the top of the points table, Rob moved up a spot to third in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the penultimate event of 2017 at Silverstone on September 16-17.

Colin Turkington said: “Rockingham is one of the toughest circuits to come to with maximum success ballast, so from that point of view, a podium and two sixth places represent a positive day. Pace-wise we got the absolute maximum out of the car yesterday in qualifying and today in the three races, which was tough as the ballast levels and track conditions kept changing. I’m second in the Drivers’ Championship, but the gap is small so we’ll be working very hard to try and re-claim the top spot at Silverstone.”

Rob Collard said: “I’m disappointed with the weekend because I’ve only scored eight points, which now makes winning the championship extremely difficult. Race One was tough on the hard tyre and with a lot of ballast, but to come from 17th to eighth in Race Two was very strong. I think a podium was on in Race Three, but unfortunately, I had some contact late in the race and had to retire. I’ll come back fighting at Silverstone though.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s been a tough day for Team BMW, but the positive is that we’re still at the top of the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships. Colin did a very strong job in qualifying and converted that into three top-six finishes, despite not having the fastest car. We got Rob’s car working better and better as the day went on and it’s disappointing that he had to retire from Race Three because a podium would have been a deserved reward for the way he drove.”