A battling second-place finish helped Colin Turkington increase his British Touring Car Championship advantage on a chaotic day of racing at Silverstone.
The Northern Irishman staged a remarkable fightback from 14th on the Race-Two grid in his WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport to carve through the field and record his eighth podium finish of the year in a race that was cut short of its intended distance due to the onset of rain.
More rain followed in the early stages of Race Three; Colin pitting for wet tyres during a safety-car period and emerging in 25th spot; from which he rebounded magnificently to finish seventh.
Earlier in the day, the reigning champion, who is searching a record-equalling fourth BTCC crown, had finished 14th in the opener after being spun down to 25th by a rival driver during the first half of the race.
His results mean he leaves Silverstone with a 16-point advantage over his nearest rival in the championship; five more than he began the day with.
“We knew today was going to be tough, but actually nobody in the title fight has really had a huge points total this weekend,” commented Ream Principal Dick Bennetts. “It’s been a great effort from everybody in difficult conditions to be the top-scoring team here. Colin’s a class act and he showed that on-track today in all three races and Tom’s been consistently one of the fastest drivers in all conditions.
“We’ve extended BMW’s lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship and closed in on the Teams’ Championship lead too, so I’m pleased with the effort everyone’s made. Now to do it all again at Brands Hatch and hopefully come away with the championship.”
Team-mate Tom Oliphant; the fastest Team BMW driver in qualifying, started the opening race from fifth spot and finished there too after a strong drive.
Despite carrying 30kg success ballast into Race Two, the Leamington Spa-based driver made storming progress in Race Two and fought his way up to the lead by half-distance, at which point the appearance of the safety car reduced his advantage to nothing.
With the light rain that had plagued the race intensifying at this point, and Tom using the medium-compound Dunlop tyres that were unfavourable in the conditions, he was powerless to prevent those on soft rubber – who were more easily able to generate temperature and grip in the conditions – from passing.
He finished that race in seventh and then put on one of the drives of his career after electing to pit for wet tyres when the rain fell in Race Three. Falling to 21st as a result, he battled back to fourth place.
Not only was Tom the third-highest points-scorer of the weekend, he was also the leading Jack Sears Trophy competitor in each of the three races, meaning he was awarded the trophy for the round on the end-of-day podium.
With four consecutive maximum scores to his name, he is now just 10 points away from the JST lead with 60 points up for grabs at the season finale.
The combined efforts of Colin and Tom made Team BMW the top-scoring team of the weekend to significantly close on the lead of the Teams’ Championship. They are just 20 points away from the top spot with 111 available at Brands Hatch on October 12-13.
BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan remains solidly in the hunt after three hard-fought points finishes in a chaotic series of races at Silverstone.
The 2013 champion, who is seeking a second title in his WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport, twice finished eighth and added a 10th-place result on a day when rain and some bizarre on-track incidents added to the drama.
His results helped to increase BMW’s advantage at the head of the Manufacturers’ Championship and leaves him 17 points away from series leader Colin Turkington – whose Team BMW car is also run by WSR – with 67 available at the season finale.