Team BMW maintain BTCC lead at Silverstone

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Team BMW maintained the lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on a bruising day at Silverstone.

Colin Turkington’s fourth and third-place finishes were enough to protect BMW’s advantage at the head of the Manufacturers’ Championship while WSR-run Team BMW remain favourites to claim the Teams’ title.

The Northern Irishman, whose third place in Race 2 was his 11th podium of the season, looked set for another strong finish in Race Three when he was hit on the opening lap and fell from fifth to 21st.

The two-time BTCC Champion suffered front-end damage when involved in a multi-car incident several laps later in which he was an innocent bystander. He recovered to 22nd; a result that leaves second in the championship and him 10 points away from the series lead.

Team-mate Rob Collard was less fortunate. Having made strong progress from 21st on the grid in Race One, the Hampshire driver suffered broken steering when hit by another car at two-thirds distance.

Having run onto wet grass, Rob spun backwards across the track at high speed and was collected heavily by Will Burns.

Rob was examined at the Silverstone Medical Centre and the John Ratcliffe Hospital in Oxford and was released sore, but uninjured.

He took no further part in the day’s activities and lies fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.

Colin Turkington said: “A third and a fourth are pretty solid results for us and helped us to close in on the lead of the Drivers’ Championship, but I wasn’t able to make any inroads in Race Three after contact on the opening lap that put me outside the top 20 and another incident a few laps later that I just wasn't able to avoid. I can’t change the past so we’ll re-set ourselves and start looking ahead to the season finale at Brands Hatch. I’m 10 points behind the in fight for the title and I’ll be putting everything into overturning that gap.”

Rob Collard said: “It’s hugely disappointing to end a weekend in this way, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened if the driving standards in the middle of the field had been better. I ended up off the track because of two cars leaning on each other too heavily and I’ve had a big accident through no fault of my own that leaves the team with a huge job to ready a car for me for Brands Hatch. Fortunately I’m sore, but otherwise OK. I’d like to thank Dr Trafford and the Silverstone medical team as well as the staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital for looking after me and to wish Will Burns a speedy recovery from his injuries sustained in our incident.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “The big positive from this weekend is that we’ve maintained our lead in both the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships and seen Colin close in a little on the top spot in the Drivers’ title race. The negative has been the poor driving standards throughout the field that have cost Colin the chance to regain the lead of the championship and put Rob in hospital. Thankfully Rob’s Ok, but the team now face a real race against time to get his car ready for Brands Hatch in a fortnight.”