Article date: 1 April 2007
Team RAC drivers Colin Turkington and Tom Onslow-Cole got off to a great start in the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Brands Hatch today (1 April).
After the first three races Colin Turkington lies third in the drivers championship with 25 points, behind Jason Plato (41 points) and Matt Neal (32 points). Tom Onslow-Cole's 11 points sees him in equal eighth position.
There was no shortage of action in the eagerly anticipated first race of the championship. Colin Turkington started in pole position but a great start from Jason Plato saw the SEAT driver take an early lead that he maintained throughout the 27 lap race. Turkington showed impressive and consistent speed to seal an opening race second place finish.
Onslow-Cole, starting his debut race in seventh place, had a fantastic start off the line start which saw the 19 year old move to fourth place by the end of the opening lap. Having seen off early pressure from Matt Jackson, he was eventually passed by Matt Neal and Mike Jordon and went on to finish the first round in sixth place (although moved up to fifth following Matt Jackson's disqualification).
Colin Turkington said: "It was great to finish on the podium in the first race. The car is only six days old but I can already tell that it has a great deal of potential and is extremely fast. I was a little disappointed with my start but it is early days, and they can only get better."
Tom Onslow-Cole commented: "Overall I'm really pleased with my first race. It all came together with a fantastic start off the line and a solid finish. I was surprised that I felt very few nerves this morning and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience."
Both Team RAC drivers started the second race positively with Colin Turkington continuing his good start to the season to again finish in second place behind Jason Plato. Another superb start for Tom Onslow-Cole saw him pass Mike Jordan to move up to fifth place. Some great driving from the current Clio Cup champion took him into a potential podium finish, until the eleventh lap when a collision with SEAT's Darren Turner's saw him leave the track, although he recovered to finish fifteenth.
Tom Onslow-Cole said: "Although I'm disappointed with the final result it is great to know that I have the pace to compete at the front and I am confident that I can maintain that for a full race. I think this was definitely my proper welcome and introduction to Touring Cars!"
Enjoying his best start of the day, Colin Turkington quickly moved from sixth place to second, which left him chasing current British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal (Team Halfords). Although with the Portadown driver eyeing more early season points he was taken out by Darren Turner in the eleventh lap, prematurely ending his final race of the day.
Onslow-Cole had another great start moving up to eleventh place, from fifteenth, in the first lap. Throughout the race some solid driving saw him continue to move steadily up the grid, resulting in a seventh placed finishing position.
Dick Bennetts, WSR team principal, commented: "We're satisfied with our performance after the opening rounds. Considering the limited testing time we've had, it was great to see Colin post two second placed finishes and Tom show his potential behind the wheel and score valuable points also."
Team RAC now lead the Independents Team Championship with 40 points, and sit third in the Overall Teams Championship with 35 points.
The BTCC action now moves to Rockingham on Sunday 22 April.
RAC will be unveiling the next stage of their "RAC to the rescue" campaign, which provides benefits to enhance the race day experience of fans at all 10 rounds of the season.
Simon Machell, chief executive of Norwich Union Insurance, said: "It was an excellent start to the season for Team RAC. Both drivers showed great promise behind the wheel of the new car, and we're looking forward to an exciting season.
"The fans are the lifeblood of the British Touring Car Championship, so I'm pleased they were given a weekend to remember thanks to the first stage of our 'RAC to the Rescue' campaign.
"We have many exciting initiatives planned for every round of the 2007 BTCC so supporters should log onto teamrac.co.uk, look out in the media and at the rounds themselves for details of our activity and how they can take part."
Fans can keep up to speed with the latest from Team RAC by visiting http://www.teamrac.co.uk/.
For further information please contact:
Lexis Sport - 07966 077572 / 0207 908 6488
Notes to editors:
The championship is firmly established not only as one of Britain's most popular form of motor racing but also as one of the UK's top sporting attractions. Over the past decade, action-packed BTCC race meetings have repeatedly drawn crowds on a par with Premiership football matches and Test Match cricket, with over 200,000 loyal spectators and over 20 million terrestrial television viewers.
RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations and a provider for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.
Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading 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 of around 15%.