Turkington takes two podiums and claims third in BTCC Drivers' Championship

Article date: 15 October 2006

  • Round 10 - Silverstone - race report

In front of a bumper crowd of 33,000 people, Team RAC's ColinTurkington claimed two second place finishes taking third overallin the 2006 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Drivers'Championship. Only one point separated Colin from second placeddriver Jason Plato whilst Matt Neal made it back-to-backchampionship titles.

Rob Collard improved his position to finish the Drivers'Championship in ninth place overall and fourth in the IndependentsTrophy.

Race one
Having qualified second on the gridfor the opening race, Colin Turkington got a good getaway to retainhis position challenging race leader Gareth Howell early on. As therace progressed Colin, who was carrying an additional 27kgs ofweight, was unable to keep pace with race leader and focused hisattention on keeping third placed man Tom Chilton behind him. A fewnudges from the Vauxhall driver was not enough to put Colin off hisstride with the Northern Irishman eventually taking second placeand closing the gap in Championship to just five points betweenhimself and Jason Plato.

On claiming second place, Colin said: "It was a good race and I'mpleased with the second place. I struggled a bit with straight-linespeed but we have a good chassis, so I'm unable to pick up time inthe corners. My aim this weekend was to get the second place backin the championship and it was good to pick up some points."

Starting further down the grid in tenth, Rob Collard enjoyed amid-field battle with Jason Plato and Mike Jordan to take thechequered flag in tenth. Keen to help his team-mate, Rob put thepressure on the SEAT driver but was conscious of keeping it clean.Rob said: "It's really comes down to a team game today and I wantto assist Colin is getting the runner-up spot in the championship.I really wanted to have a go at Plato and get passed him but afterthe incident earlier in the season at Brands Hatch I was alsomindful of avoiding any contact."

Race two
The second race of the day was fullof action with both of the Team RAC cars on the receiving end ofdamage. Firstly, Colin Turkington was forced to retire afterreceiving a substantial knock to the rear when challenging forfirst place. Colin explained: "We got a lot of damage to car. I gota big hit from behind, ran through the gravel and I lost the enginewhen the front splitter folded underneath."

Rob Collard was also forced to make a pit stop to remove a damagedrear bumper following contact from SEAT's Jason Plato. Rob said: "Igot a really good start and was chasing down Howell and then Platohooked on the back of me and spun me around. He later retired withdamaged steering which I can only assume was the result of thecontact."

However, in a twist of fate in Colin's favour, a racing incident onlap three caused Thompson, Plato, Chilton and Jordan to retire withthe race eventually being red flagged to attend to the injuredJordan. The Team RAC mechanics pulled off the un-imaginable torepair Colin's car in time for it to join the back of the field forthe 14-lap race restart and claimed an 11th place finish. He added:"The guys did a great job in getting the car back out on thecircuit and finishing in 11th is better than not finishing atall."

Rob restarted the race on the last row of the grid and drovesolidly taking fifth overall. On the restart Rob added: "Again Igot a good start and managed to get through a few of the backmarkers quite quickly. I'm pleased with the fifth place finish andhopefully the reverse grid will work in my favour."

Race three
Starting from 19th on the gridColin got a great start and by the end of lap one had already movedup to ninth place. Continuing his outstanding charge he'd made itto second by the end of lap eight where he remained until the endof the race. A delighted Colin got out of the car commenting: "Ihad a glint in my eye before I went out for that race as I knew thecar was going to be strong. It wasn't going to be easy and I had atough task ahead, but I still thought I could get something out ofit. I didn't quite have the pace of Gareth but to get on the podiumagain for Team RAC is fantastic."

Despite a fantastic drive it wasn't quite enough to regain hissecond place in the Drivers' Championship from SEAT Sports JasonPlato. Colin added: "I did as much as I could and I'm happy withthird."

From his fifth place grid slot, Rob got a great getaway and wasplaced nicely behind race leader and fellow bio-fuel driver PaulO'Neill. Looking comfortable for a podium finish Rob was sent intoslide by Team Halfords' Gareth Howell. Rob explained: "I was sureof gaining a podium from that race and I was on course to achieveit and finish my season with Team RAC on a high. I got hit byGareth and recovered as best as I could. Once again I've been onthe receiving end of some unacceptable driving standards and it'sdisappointing to say the least."

Summarising on the day's racing as the season comes to an end, DickBennetts, team principal said: "We've got two podiums today andColin had a storming drive in the final race. The car has been veryreliable once again although it's a shame that we've been on thereceiving end of some aggressive driving once again. Rob wasrunning well in both the second and third races before being puntedoff the circuit. We've once again shown the potential for bio-fueland I have to say a huge thank you to RAC for their support thisseason. I'm very much looking forward to next season."

Having completed their first season of touring cars Shaun Meadows,RAC marketing director, added: "We're over the moon with the team'sperformance this year and particularly proud of the podiums we'veachieved since the switch to bio-fuel. Congratulations to Rob andalso to Colin for achieving third place in the Championship. It'sbeen a great team effort."

-ends-

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Notes to editors:

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