TURKINGTON WINS AT WET DONINGTON
RACE 3 ENDS IN TRIUMPH AS TURKINGTON RECORDS FIRST VICTORY FOR TEAM BMW
The Easter weekend of BTCC action came to a blistering finish on Sunday evening, as the final race of the day eventually went ahead in extremely difficult conditions. The on-track excitement had been riveting all day, as the famous Craner Curves leant themselves to some heart in mouth overtaking. There were winners and losers as the running order continuously shifted, creating typical BTCC ‘anything-can-happen’ drama.
It was a qualifying session of mixed fortunes for Colin, as he found himself out of the car for the final 7 minutes with a water leak. Fortunately Turkington had already banked a strong lap on his only run to keep him in the mix. Following the exclusion of two rival cars from the qualifying results, the #4 BMW was to line up P10 for the first race of the day on Sunday. In another ultra competitive session, the top 12 cars all set a lap time within half a second of each other.
Rain was forecast for pretty much the entire day, but races 1 and 2 played out on a dry track with the occasionally sunny spell. Once again Colin displayed his superior race craft charging from P10 to P4 in the first race, with a podium looking likely, but just out of reach as yellow flags restricted over-taking.
The first few laps in race 2 proved less favourable as the #4 BMW got bumped around and Colin found himself falling down the order. Despite a heavy vibration onset from the early contact, Turkington refused to relent and maintained his forward focus crossing the line in P5.
THE RAIN CAME DOWN AND THE FLOODS CAME UP
In easily the most treacherous conditions ever experienced, race 3 started late on Sunday afternoon as rivers flowed across the track. After a chaotic opening lap the race was immediately red flagged and eventually got underway at 6.22pm, with the teams and spectators holding their breath.
17 laps later Turkington took the chequered flag in second place behind reigning champion Gordon Shedden. But the drama was far from over as Shedden’s car failed the technical checks on return to the pit lane. Turkington was promoted to the race winner and recorded his first victory for Team BMW in 2017. The BMW driver now sits 2nd in the Championship and brings his race winning tally up to 42 with 112 BTCC podiums and 42 fastest laps.
“I am so pleased for the team and delighted to take my first win for BMW at a circuit that historically hasn’t favoured RWD cars. The guys slaved over my car all weekend, especially with the engine change on Saturday night, but the hard work was worth it.
We had about three different weather forecasts all telling us a different story, but we reacted well and crucially made the right moves in terms of the car setup.
Race 1 was hugely satisfying to finish just off the podium and take the fastest lap. Race 2 was more tricky and I was just unlucky with track positioning. Every time I went for a gap it closed, but I was determined to keep pushing forwards. P5 is still a strong finish in the current grid and to nurse that front right tyre over the line was nothing short of a miracle!
Every BTCC race throws a different set of challenges to you, but nothing has come close to the conditions we witnessed at the start of race 3.
I was glad to see the red flag sand still be on the black stuff and thankfully the restart was more manageable. It was still such a difficult race and we were on the limits of grip everywhere. Securing a win at Donington in a RWD car is never easy. To do it in the wet is very satisfying and testament to the work done by Team BMW.”
QUALIFYING – P10
RACE 1 – P4 + FASTEST LAP
RACE 2 – P5
RACE 3 – P1
RACE STARTS – 338
PODIUMS – 112
FASTEST LAPS – 42
WINS – 42
NEXT UP: ROUNDS 7, 8 and 9
The next event on the BTCC calendar is less than three weeks away when the championship heads South in search of better weather to Thruxton on the 6th and 7th May.