Article date: 3 September 2006
- Round 8 - Knockhill - Race Report
Colin Turkington and Team RAC showed great pace in hisbio-ethanol MG at Knockhill but what should have been a happyending to a frustrating weekend was cruelly taken away from theNorthern Irishman as his car developed an electrical problem whenleading the final BTCC race of the day at the Scottish track.
Promoting Energy Efficient MotorSport, the change to bio-fuelwas seamless and the team were within minutes of making history bysecuring a first podium finish for a car powered by a greenerfuel.
Running on a full wet-weather set-up the Team RAC cars didn't get agreat start in the first of today's three races. With several carsfalling victim the greasy track conditions, the race wasinterrupted on two occasions by safety car periods whilst thestricken cars were removed and the race extended.
Rob Collard was running well in sixth place when he was forcedto retire early during the second of the safety car periods due toan electrical failure. Rob said: "The car was handling really welland I was making good progress but then the battery light came on.I turned off my headlights and heated windscreen. The screenstarted to mist up and I was using the windscreen wipers as littleas possible but it got to the stage where I just wasn't able tosee. I tried to limp the car around the track to get a finish butthe battery gave up."
The additional 36kgs of success ballast played heavily on thecar of Colin Turkington. Finishing 8th and collecting four points,it wasn't enough to close the gap on current championship leaderMatt Neal. Colin said: "The car ran well in both of the practicesessions yesterday but we decided to make some changes prior toqualifying. Since then, I've struggled with some under steer andgetting to grips with the car. I'm confident of some better resultsin the last two races."
Race two of the afternoon resembleda demolition derby as both Team RAC cars were on the receiving endof some contact, hindering Colin's race and ending Rob'sprematurely.
Despite this Colin's consistently broke the race lap recordearning him a championship point and equalling the point securedfor his 10th place finish. Earlier in the race, contact from theHonda Integra of Gareth Howell at the hairpin saw both cars in thegravel and a new set of tyres hastily prepared for the MG. WithColin back out on track his race was interrupted once again whenhanded a drive through penalty for exiting the pit lane under a redlight. But once out on track, a lap behind, Colin continued to makegood progress showing the incredible pace of the Team RAC car.
Colin said: "With the track conditions drying the car feltsuperb and it's bitterly disappointing that I didn't get more fromthe race. Salvaging two points from that race was about all I couldhope for. I've started from the back of the grid before atKnockhill and ended up on the podium, so it's not beyondpossibility."
If Rob didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all.Disappointed in the standards in driving, when he himself hasreceived much criticism, it's seems that Rob was not destined forthe podium despite running strongly. He was forced to retire afternine laps having been assisted into the gravel at Scotsman by JasonPlato, Rob said: "Heading through the SEAT Curves I was consciousof keeping my line. I had my car in front heading to Scotsman whenJason caught me on the left-hander, sending me onto the grass andthen back across the track into the barrier. At the moment I feellike I've a target on my car. There was far too much contact inthat race and it's dangerous.
The results for the race were later amended due to DarrenTurner's SEAT being demoted to the rear of the grid. This was dueto ballast not being added to his car. This amendment promotedColin Turkington to a ninth place finish and an additionalpoint.
Starting from ninth on the grid Colin was on track for his firstwin of the day having made his way through the pack to take thelead on lap 18. An electrical problem then caused the Team RAC carto loose power and the podium position was cruelly taken awayresulting in Colin now chasing a 53 point deficit in theChampionship.
With a starting grid position of 14th, Rob also made goodprogress through the field claiming a seventh place finish, hisbest finish of the day.
Having completed the first weekend's racing following the switchto bio-ethanol fuel, Team RAC's team principal Dick Bennetts said:"The change of fuel hasn't hampered the performance of our car inany way, as you can see from the lap times that Colin produced overthe weekend. It was disappointing not to have secured the win inthe final race when everything was looking good. Rob once again wason the receiving end of some poor driving causing unnecessarydamage and continuing his run of bad luck. It will be good to putthis weekend and look ahead positively to the next race."
Team RAC returns to Brands Hatch on 23/24 September for the nextand penultimate round of 2006 BTCC season.
Copyright free images for editorial purposes are available atwww.teamrac.com
To arrange an interview with a member of Team RAC, pleasecontact Sarah Owen on 07793 633153.
- With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's mostprogressive motoring organizations, providing services for bothprivate and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance,windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicleinspections and checks, legal and financial services orup-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able tomeet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens,RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.
- Aviva bought RAC last year. The acquisition brings togetherRAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise andleading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance(part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer,insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share ofaround 14 per cent.
- Aviva is the world's sixth-largest insurance group and thebiggest in the UK. It is one of the leading providers of life andpensions products in Europe and has substantial businesseselsewhere around the world. Its main activities are long-termsavings, fund management and general insurance. It has premiumincome and investment sales of £33 billion and £291 billion ofassets under management. The group has 60,000 employees serving 30million customers worldwide.