Article date: 6 May 2007
Team RAC drivers Colin Turkington and Tom Onslow-Cole had a day of mixed fortunes at the third round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton today (6 May).
After races seven, eight and nine, Colin Turkington lies fifth in the drivers championship with 44 points, whilst Tom Onslow-Cole is in ninth with 34 points - just one point behind eighth-placed Mat Jackson. Jason Plato (SEAT Sport UK) leads with 107 points.
Colin Turkington started the day positively with an Independents win for Team RAC. After beginning race one from fifth place on the grid, a great start saw him move up to second at the first corner. The Northern Irishman went on to finish the race in fourth behind Fabrizio Giovanardi's Vauxhall and the two SEATs of Jason Plato and Darren Turner.
Tom Onslow-Cole started 10th on the grid and despite struggling with the set up of the car in the first few laps, he improved in the latter stages of the race to finish eighth.
Colin Turkington said: "I was very happy with my start, which is improving as the season goes on. It was great to get an Independents win and pick up some valuable points for the team."
There was no shortage of action in the second race of the day. Another positive start for Colin Turkington saw him move into the lead at the first corner. He held off Fabrizio Giovanardi until lap four when the Italian passed him on Church bend. Turkington then dropped back to fifth place.
The safety car came out on lap six after a high-speed incident between Darren Turner and Matt Allison which saw Turkington move up to fifth place and his team mate Tom Onslow-Cole up to sixth.
After the restart Onslow-Cole did well to keep Jason Plato at bay until lap 15 when the championship leader passed him.
Turkington and Onslow-Cole finished the race in fifth and seventh places respectively.
Tom Onslow-Cole said: "We are now really getting to know the car and finding out how much it reacts to small changes. There is still room for improvement but the car is developing well."
The final race of the weekend was a frustrating one for Team RAC as both drivers faced challenging circumstances. On the reversed grid, Tom Onslow- Cole and Colin Turkington again started well, moving up two places each into second and fourth place respectively. However, a left rear tyre puncture for Colin Turkington on lap four forced the Northern Irishman into the pits and saw him fall back to 19th position.
On lap eight, Tom Onslow-Cole ran wide in the chicane and dropped down to 14th place. Both drivers recovered to make progress through the rear of the pack in the closing stages, with Tom Onslow-Cole finishing 10th and Colin Turkington 17th.
Dick Bennetts, WSR team principal, commented: "It has been quite a frustrating day overall for Team RAC. It is the first time we have used a new type of tyres. Although we are happy with the drivers performances the car is not exactly how we would like it to be at this stage of the championship. However we are positive that we can make progress and are looking forward to Croft."
Team RAC now lead the Independents Team Championship with 102 points, and sit fourth in the Overall Teams Championship with 76 points.
The BTCC action now moves to Croft on Sunday 3 June.
RAC were able to unveil the latest 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.
RAC came to the rescue of race day marshals by providing them with new overalls. Marshals were able to take part in a "uniform amnesty" and exchange their old outfits for new "RAC to the rescue" branded overalls.
Alastair Pegg, director of RAC marketing, said: "As usual there was plenty of action on track and it was great to see ‘RAC to the rescue' in action, on track with the marshals in their new overalls.
"RAC's season sees a different activity for each round of the Championship that rewards fans or adds to their race day experience and for Thruxton we wanted to show our support to the marshals. After all, Marshals are the unsung heroes of the British Touring Car Championship, as without them, the event simply could not take place.
"We had over a hundred people to the RAC trade site on Saturday evening and it was a great reward to see them all out on track on Sunday in their new overalls.
"RAC have many exciting initiatives planned for the 10 rounds in 2007 so supporters should log onto teamrac.co.uk, look out in the media and at the rounds themselves during the season for details of our activity and how they cam take part."
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%.