Team RAC create motorsport history with bio-fuel

Article date: 24 September 2006

  • Round 9 - Brands Hatch - Race report

Team RAC created a little bit of history today when they becamethe first motorsport team to achieve a podium finish underbio-fuel. Not only did they achieve it once, but twice, as ColinTurkington took third place in both race one and two of the 2006Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

In terms of the Championship battle, it now goes down to the wireand the final rounds at Silverstone. With a 49-point gap to reduceit is still mathematically possible for Colin Turkington to win theChampionship but realistically it needs a series of minormiracles.

Fellow Team RAC driver Rob Collard returned to form with three topseven finishes and some welcome points towards his BTCCcampaign.

Race one
In the opening BTCC race of the day,Colin Turkington secured a third place finish and with it the firstpodium for a bio-fuelled car.

Following the restart, due to a start-line incident, Colin kept incontention running fourth and began closing on third placed GordonShedden during the closing stages of the extended 27-lap race.Colin was rewarded for his efforts when under pressure Shedden ranwide picking up a puncture on the final lap.

Colin said: "I'm delighted to have got the podium and it just showsit can be done using green fuel. I had a few steering problemsyesterday but its good to come back today with the car runningstrongly. It was a good team performance."

Rob Collard finished a well deserved fifth having defended hardagainst Gareth Howell. It was a good clean battle, which saw theTeam RAC car the victor.

Rob said: "I had a good race against Gareth as he was fast in someareas of the track and I was quicker in others. He managed to getpassed me when I was trying to negotiate one of the back-markers,which allowed him to get through. I then managed to re-pass himbefore he retired."

Race two
Colin secured his second podium ofthe day with another third place finish. Having got a great startpassing second placed Matt Neal at Paddock Hill on the opening lap,the roles were reversed at the next corner. Driving consistentlywell keeping a fourth placed Shedden at bay, Colin was pleased withhis second trophy of the day. 

Colin said: "It's fantastic to be on the podium again. I stillcan't find that little bit extra but we're competitive and that'sgood. Two podiums so far today is great but I can't help thinkingthat we lost a little bit of ground from the problems we had infree practice."

Rob also got a good getaway off the line but was later on thereceiving end of some forceful moves from both Fabrizio Giovanardiand David Pinkney, which saw the Team RAC driver slip to eighthplace during the early stages of the race. With the impact damagingthe MG ZS' steering, Rob battled to regain a place finishingseventh overall in a difficult race.

Rob said: "I got a good start and everything was looking good forthe race. It was pretty busy out there. Chilton (Tom) and I wereheading alongside one another into Druids and Pinkney just drove upthe inside, pushing Chilton into me and damaging my steering. Theearlier rear impact from Giovanardi damaged the exhaust and filledmy car with fumes. My eyes were streaming and I had difficultybreathing, so it was pretty wretched."

Race three
With the reverse grid rule cominginto play, Colin Turkington and Rob Collard lined-up fourth andseventh respectively for the final race of the day. Once again, anearly safety car deployment interrupted the racing action but atthe re-start Colin and Rob lay in sixth and seventh place. With thefront-runners tightly packed both Team RAC drivers took advantageof a racing incident between Tom Chilton and Matt Neal, promotingthem to fourth and sixth finishing positions.

Lying third in the overall Drivers Championship with a 49-point gapto leader Matt Neal, Colin is determined to reclaim his secondplace spot from Jason Plato (14 points). He said: "It's been aproductive weekend and I've picked up quite a few points. It's alittle disappointing not to have closed the gap further but itmeans that it's all still to play for as we go to the final roundsat Silverstone."

On his return to form Rob said: "After the last few race meetingsI'm very pleased to have finished all three races. The car has beenstrong right from qualifying and also during the latter stages of arace. If we can find the ultimate set-up for an extra bit of paceat the start of a race, then it all looks good for the last meetingSilverstone."

Summarising on Team RAC's performance, team principal, DickBennetts said: "I'm delighted that Team RAC have achieved the firstpodium for bio-fuel. We've had both cars finish all three races andour aim for Silverstone will be for Team RAC to be back on the topstep of the podium."

Debbie Hewitt, managing director, RAC added: "It has been anothersuccessful day for the team and going into the last round of theseason it couldn't be more exciting. RAC are proud to have achievedthe very first podium in a bio-fuelled car. Its a real testament toour motoring expertise."

Developing and promoting the use of bio-fuel, Energy EfficientMotorsport (EEMS) were delighted to celebrate the success of TeamRAC. EEMS project consultant, Rob Oldaker added: "It's been a greatday for EEMS for the three teams using E85 bio-fuel with twopodiums and nine top-ten finishes today. Clearly with results likethis, other teams will be recognising that renewable fuels aretotally competitive and show they way to a greater future inmotorsport. Our aim is to see more teams and other championshipsswitching to bio-fuels very soon."

The last rounds of the 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring CarChampionship take place on 15 October at Silverstone FinalsDay.

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To arrange an interview with a member of Team RAC, please contactSarah Owen on 07793 633153.

Copyright free images for editorial purposes are available atwww.teamrac.com

Notes to editors:

About RAC
With around seven millionmembers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoringorganizations, providing services for both private and businessmotorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair andreplacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks,legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travelinformation - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RACincorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance andHPI.

Aviva bought RAC last year. The acquisition brings together RAC'spowerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leadingposition in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part ofAviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one inseven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 14%.

About Aviva
Aviva is the world's fifth-largestinsurance group and the biggest in the UK. It is one of the leadingproviders of life and pensions products in Europe and hassubstantial businesses elsewhere around the world. Its mainactivities are long-term savings, fund management and generalinsurance. It has premium income and investment sales of £36billion and £332 billion of assets under management. The group has58,000 employees serving 35 million customers worldwide.

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