Turkington claim's BMW’s 100th Dunlop MSA BTCC win at Thruxton

08 May 2017


Colin Turkington claimed BMW’s 100th Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship win, after team-mate Rob Collard had earlier secured the 99th success for the German marque in a thrilling day of racing at Thruxton.

Honda machinery looked to be the dominant force after taking a 1-2-3 finish in the opening contest at Britain’s fastest circuit, which saw Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal head home stablemate Gordon Shedden and Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff in a thrilling race.

It was a faultless lights-to-flag display from pole-sitter Neal, who drew level with Andy Rouse’s tally of 60 BTCC wins – the equal-second most victories in BTCC history. Shedden looked to be thinking at times to try for the win but in the end looked happy to take second and Jack Goff again looked happy to be on the podium.

Collard then claimed his first-ever triumph at Thruxton in a truncated encounter that included two stoppages and heartache for race one winner Neal.

Team BMW’s Collard had already surged from tenth on the grid up to sixth, before the race was red flagged for the first time following a high speed accident involving Senna Proctor’s Vauxhall and the two MGs of Aron Taylor-Smith and Daniel Lloyd. Speaking after the accident Lloyd seemed unhappy with the run off at Church corner and this was echoed by other drivers as well.
 
Local driver Collard blasted his BMW 125i M Sport off the line again at the restart, firing his rear-wheel drive car up to third and immediately harassing the two factory Hondas ahead of him.
 
It was three-wide for second into the final chicane on the opening lap as Collard emerged, ‘elbows out’, ahead of Goff and Shedden.
 
The drama continued as the Honda Civic Type R of initial race leader Neal crawled into the pits with steering problems one lap later, handing Collard the advantage.
 
With the race seemingly building towards an exciting climax it was unfortunately cut short due to an accident for the Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford of Martin Depper.

So, as the red flags waved it was Collard claiming a maiden win on home soil at Thruxton from Shedden and Ingram, who had both dispatched Goff earlier in the contest.
 
Then came another magic milestone as Turkington – having powered to two BTCC titles in BMW machinery – fittingly secured the memorable century for the German manufacturer.

The West Surrey Racing driver produced a commanding getaway from pole position and never looked in danger – the Northern Irishman eventually taking the chequered flag nearly three seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
 
Speedworks Motorsport’s Ingram took second place to extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, whilst Goff claimed a second podium of the day. The latter’s trio of top four results was just reward for the 26-year-old and his Eurotech Racing squad.

Honda’s Gordon Shedden finished fourth in the final encounter – cementing his place as the highest points-scorer over the course of the weekend, keeping pressure on Ingram in the process. Turkington is now third in the standings after his latest success.
 
Honda closed the gap on BMW in the Manufacturers’ order while Team BMW slightly extended its advantage in the Teams’ standings.
 
Ingram and his Speedworks squad still hold sway in both Independents’ tables, whilst Senna Proctor took his third successive Jack Sears Trophy.
 
The BTCC returns in two weeks’ time (20/21 May) for Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

Matt Neal said: “I hadn’t given much thought to equalling Andy’s win tally, to be honest. We all thought Andy’s record was unachievable and even though Jason [Plato] exceeded it, I never thought I would get there. Just unbelievable. Yes, there are a lot more races in the season now, but its tough out there. We had a bit of a nightmare here last year and then Donington Park was a rotten weekend all-round for everybody, so to come away with a Halfords Yuasa Racing one-two and a Honda podium lockout on home soil is a dream – a fabulous result. I made sure to look after the car and the tyres were superb throughout.”

Rob Collard said: “The BMW felt absolutely stunning and I’m so pleased for the team. We did a lot at the first start, and then the re-start was similarly textbook. I had a really good opening lap and then I’m not sure what happened to Matt – I could see sparks coming off – so it was obviously a shame for him. but I will take this one and with pride. I must admit, going three-abreast into the chicane was pretty scary! I had one of the Hondas on my left and then cheeky Jack Goff snuck up my inside on the right – I didn’t see that one coming! The BMW was on fire today and it’s brilliant to take my first win of 2017. A big shout out to Billy [Monger], who is watching at home on TV – Forza!”

Colin Turkington said: “I wasn’t that confident before the race because we had been chasing the set-up all day, but the guys never let up which moved the car in a new direction – and the pace was there for all to see. To achieve BMW’s 100th win in the BTCC is a very special feeling for me. I grew up watching the likes of Smokin’ Jo Winkelhock and Tim Harvey, so to continue the history of this iconic brand means a lot to me. I’m so pleased to end the day like this. The BMW 125i M Sport is a fantastic car at the moment and we’ve really got it in the window. Thruxton has always been a challenge for us – it’s probably the circuit where we’ve won the least – so to take two victories is fantastic.”

TOP 10 Driver Standings

1 Tom Ingram Speedworks Motorsport 131PTS
2 Gordon Shedden Halfords Yuasa Racing 114PTS
3 Colin Turkington Team BMW 112PTS
4 Rob Collard Team BMW 103PTS
5 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport 96PTS
6 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing 89PTS
7 Matt Neal Halfords Yuasa Racing 73PTS
8 Ashley Sutton Adrian Flux Subaru 62PTS
9 Rob Austin Handy Motorsport 59PTS
10 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing 51PTS

Photos courtesy of BTCC.net