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June 2019

Team BMW title push continues at Oulton Park

Colin Turkington (GBR) WSR BMW

Team BMW continue their push for the title this weekend as Oulton Park in Cheshire takes the British Touring Car Championship to the halfway point of its 2019 season. A second-place finish and three top-six results last time out at Croft propelled Colin Turkington into an 11-point series lead while BMW grabbed the lead of the Manufacturers’ Championship.

With WSR-run Team BMW also holding second place in the Teams’ points table, three-time BTCC champion Colin is aiming for another strong set of performances on the 2.2-mile ‘Island’ layout of the picturesque parkland circuit. Colin, who is aiming for a record-equalling fourth BTCC crown, has two victories this year in the new BMW 330i M Sport and is a seven-time winner at Oulton Park, including doubles in 2009 and 2014.

For WSR, Oulton Park has also been a happy hunting ground. The Sunbury-on-Thames-based team have recorded 36 podiums and 13 wins in 21 years, including an incredible 1-2-3 finish and double-success last year.

Colin’s position at the top of the points means he carries the maximum 54kg success ballast into the weekend, making his 3 Series the heaviest car on the grid.

Team-mate Tom Oliphant is from nearby Tarporley and has a special connection with his local circuit. After equalling his career-best BTCC qualifying result with fifth on the grid at Croft and delivering a strong fifth-place finish in the opening race, he once again showed why he is widely-tipped to become a race winner in his second season in the series.

The Oulton triple-header on June 29-30 is the fifth of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, which takes in eight circuits the length and breadth of the country. Each race will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.

Colin Turkington said: “I feel happy with where we are with the 3 Series and the development, so the plan is to go into the summer break with the momentum on our side. Oulton Park incorporates some of the most demanding corners in British motorsport such as Cascades and Druids, which require a lot of commitment, and it’s narrower than most tracks, which enhances the sense of speed. You really need to be on-point if you want to be on the pace. Going there as championship leader obviously presents its own challenges. It won’t be easy on maximum ballast though.”

Tom Oliphant said: “Oulton Park is very much home turf and I always enjoy going there. It’s one of my favourite tracks. It presents a unique challenge as a driver, and qualifying is a lot of fun as you push yourself and the car absolutely to the limit. Grid position is particularly important there, because the narrow track makes it difficult to overtake and you really need to get your elbows out to go forwards but I’ll arrive with no weight in the car, which will definitely be an advantage so I’m focussed on starting right at the front. I’m confident the new BMW 3 Series will feel good. I’ve had some terrible luck recently, so what we need above all else is a clean weekend and three consistent finishes”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Oulton Park has traditionally been a very good circuit for WSR in recent years, but in 2019 the new BMW 330i M Sport has been fast everywhere, so there’s no reason to think we can’t score good points again, provided everybody continues working at the extremely high level we’ve set ourselves. Colin has won here many times in our cars and is always a factor, while Tom grew up near here and is keen to turn his strong qualifying pace into three good results.”

Jordan eyes more success at Oulton Park

Andrew Jordan and BMW Pirtek Racing head to Oulton Park this weekend aiming to maintain their sensational recent British Touring Car Championship form. The Lichfield driver has won more races than anybody else this season – five – including dominant doubles at each of the last two rounds at Thruxton and Croft in his WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport.

The 2013 champion returns to the scene of his maiden BTCC podium optimistic of continuing that run of results at the demanding 2.2-mile Cheshire circuit. His incredible recent run has lifted Andrew to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship – 26 points behind leader and WSR stablemate Colin Turkington, with 67 available this weekend. This means he carries 36kg success ballast into the weekend, which is certain to slow the BMW 3 Series in the numerous uphill traction zones at Oulton.

Andrew has a strong record in the BTCC at Oulton. Since recording his maiden BTCC podium there in 2008, he has added 11 more, including two wins.

For WSR, Oulton Park has also been a happy hunting ground. The Sunbury-on-Thames-based team have recorded 36 podiums and 13 wins in 21 years, including an incredible 1-2-3 finish and double-win last year.

Another triumph this weekend would mean that the Sunbury-on-Thames team’s BMWs have been victorious in six consecutive seasons at the track.

The Oulton triple-header on June 29-30 is the fifth of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, which takes in eight circuits the length and breadth of the country. Each race will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.

Andrew Jordan, Driver, BMW Pirtek Racing, said: “Oulton Park has been one of my strongest circuits in recent seasons, and I love it. We need to hold our expectations in-check, but I do go to Oulton expecting to challenge for pole position and race wins – and if we can’t win, we need to keep bagging points. Yes, ballast has a greater effect than at most places, but I’ve won races on full weight this season, so it’s not something I think about. We’ve found the sweet spot with the new 3 Series, and the confidence level is sky-high. I think we are the strongest package on the grid right now, so we need to use that positive momentum to keep moving forwards.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “AJ and the whole team have been in terrific form recently, qualifying well when his car was light, and still being able to succeed when his car’s had full ballast in Race Two. We managed a 1-2-3 finish at Oulton last year with the BMW 1 Series, and the new 3 Series should be a little better-suited to the fast corners here, so even with the ballast he carries, he should be capable of qualifying and racing well.”

Photo credit JEP/BMW.

Turkington surges ahead in BTCC title race

Colin Turkington (R) with Andrew Jordan, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Croft, UK

Team BMW’s Colin Turkington became the sole leader of the British Touring Car Championship with a strong raceday performance at Croft that culminated in a podium finish. The Northern Irishman, who is aiming for a record-equalling fourth BTCC title this year, finished second in Race Two behind the similarly WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport of Andrew Jordan and added fourth and sixth-place finishes either side of it.

That contributed to a 42-point haul for Colin, who began the day sharing the top spot in the Drivers’ Championship, but ended it with an 11-point advantage and with BMW taking the lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship.

Team-mate Tom Oliphant, who had equalled his career-best qualifying performance with fifth place on Saturday, sat on Colin’s tail throughout Race One to take a strong fifth place, which also made him the highest-placed driver contending for the Jack Sears Trophy. But the Leamington Spa-based driver was hit at turn two after the start of Race Two and spun to the tail of the field moments later while sitting fourth; prompting a tenacious recovery to 18th by the chequered flag. Tom was one of a handful of drivers to gamble on slick tyres for Race Three after a brief, but heavy, rainshower had doused the circuit. With track conditions not improving as quickly as expected, and slick tyres only proving as fast as wets in the final couple of laps, he finished 23rd.

Tom lies 13th in the Drivers’ Championship and second in the Jack Sears Trophy with Team BMW retaining second spot in the Teams’ standings with four of 10 rounds now complete.

The next event takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on June 29-30; a circuit where Team BMW won twice last year.

Colin Turkington said:

“It’s been a great weekend for me. I came here sharing the lead of the points and I leave in front on my own, which is exactly where we all want to be. Second, fourth and sixth represent big points and was as much as I could hope for. We improved the BMW throughout the day and in Race Two especially, without so much success ballast on board, it just became much more lively. It’s fantastic to drive a car that feels so good. Next we go to Oulton Park, where we’ve had some great results in the past, and even though I’ll have maximum success ballast, the aim will be to continue scoring big points.”

Tom Oliphant said:

“Today’s a case of ‘what might have been’. The pace in Race One was an indication of how fast the car was today and I was pretty confident of getting a good start and a podium in Race Two, but then I was turned sideways at the first corner unnecessarily and then just ran wide into the dirt two corners later and went around. We gambled on slicks in Race Three, but because we’d chosen that race for our option [hard] tyres, there was just no grip and the wets hung on better than we thought, so there was no chance to gain an advantage. We’ll put this behind us and head to Oulton”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said:

“It’s been a great day for Colin. When you start a raceday with the heaviest car ballast-wise it puts an extra pressure on the team and the drivers to find a way of still unlocking speed and fourth was a strong result. Forty-two points is a great total for the weekend for Colin and we’ve put BMW at the head of the Manufacturers’ Championship too. Tom did a good job in Race One, was unlucky in Race Two and then for the final race we took a team decision to put him on slicks that didn’t work. At least we know now that hard tyre doesn’t work on a wet track here. He had good speed and will be a contender at Oulton Park.

Dominant double for BMW Pirtek Racing at Croft

BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan launched himself back into contention for the British Touring Car Championship with a dominant double win at Croft. The 30-year-old from Lichfield had claimed pole position on Saturday in his WSR-run BMW 330i M Sport, converted it into a lights-to-flag victory and even claimed the bonus point for fastest lap.

Laden with the maximum 54 kg success ballast in Race Two, the 2013 BTCC champion broke clear at the start, built a five-second lead by half-distance and fended off a charge from WSR stablemate Colin Turkington to head a one-two finish for Sunbury-on-Thames team.

His fifth win of 2019 was also the 25th of his BTCC career and the seventh victory of the season for new 3 Series, which only debuted at Brands Hatch in April.

Again carrying the maximum 54 kg success ballast, but this time starting eighth on the partially-reversed grid, Andrew finished eighth to total 52 points for the weekend – equalling the highest weekend score of the season of any drive – and climbing to fourth in the Drivers’ standings. His results helped BMW to claim the top spot in the Manufacturers’ Championship and to move BMW Pirtek Racing up to eighth in the Teams’ points.

The next event takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire, on June 29-30; a circuit where BMWs won two races last year.

Andrew Jordan said:

“I couldn’t have asked for more today. It was pretty much perfect. I was pretty overwhelmed after winning Race Two with full ballast, because to get two double-wins in successive events is something that almost never happens in the BTCC and it shows what an amazing job WSR have done with the BMW. Thruxton proved we had the pace to win, so we came here with minimal success ballast aiming to fight for the wins. . . The title fight really starts here.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said:

“What a great day for AJ, who has had a terrific weekend. Winning Race Two on full weight was impressive, but he had the car superbly dialled-in today and his confidence has been high. He’s scored 52 points and the best we’ve ever had for a driver is 55, so that’s pretty much as good as you can be in the BTCC across the weekend. He is 100 per cent a serious title contender.”

 

Photo credit JEP/BMW.