The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race weekend at Brands Hatch couldn’t have started any better for BMW. Colin Turkington led a BMW one-two-three in qualifying with his 330e M Sport and it was the first time in the 41-year history of the BTCC that a manufacturer had locked out the top three positions. It was also the 25th career pole for Turkington, who is also a four-time champion.
The BTCC held three races on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit and in the first two races, the BMWs didn’t perform as well as they did in qualifying, as they fell back from the lead in race one as their tires started to fade on the damp track, with Turkington finishing fifth overall as the best of the BMWs. Race two wasn’t much better, as Jake Hill finished seventh overall as the best of the BMWs as Josh Cook won both races in his Honda Civic Type R. Hill was challenging for the lead on the penultimate lap before he had a spin while fighting for the lead, which dropped him down the order.
The BMWs came roaring back in race three on Sunday in a fully wet race, with Turkington getting the win and Jake Hill finishing second. It was Turkington’s first win of the season and the 61st of his BTCC career. “It hasn’t been an easy day, but it feels an awful lot better when you can end it with a win,” he said. “Yesterday we had fully-dry conditions and I was on pole and today in fully-wet conditions I won. It’s the in-between weather that doesn’t allow us to exploit the BMW fully and unfortunately, we had that in two races today. Clearways (a long sweeping right hander), in particular, was a problem all day because there was no grip, but when it rained properly the grip was there and it just transformed the day, and the team had done a really good job working on the set-up across the day to get me more comfortable. It’s great to get my first win of the year and we’ll try and push on from this at the next round.”
The next race weekend of the BTCC takes place at the Thruxton circuit on May 28th-29th. —David Haueter
[Photos by West Surrey Racing, BTCC]