Article date: 13 July 2008
Team RAC extended its advantage at the top of the Independents Team Trophy championship as Colin Turkington maintained his great run of form in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Turkington claimed two independents victories, securing a second, a fifth and a sixth place to sustain his overall drivers championship challenge.
Stephen Jelley drove skillfully without luck as he was shunted twice when well placed in the first two races of the day. The third race saw the 26-year-old match his best result in BTCC so far.
Turkington lies in fifth place in the overall drivers championship with 121 points and Jelley in 15th with six points.
Colin Turkington added another Independents victory to his season haul following a faultless steady drive in the first race of the day at Snetterton.
Starting seventh after qualifying, the Northern Irishman made light work of Giovanardi and Tom Onslow-Cole to move up two places by the first corner at Riches. Turkington comfortably staved off the challenge from Onslow-Cole - despite the intervention of a safety car for three laps after a marshals point was damaged - to carry over his good form from Croft to finish fifth overall.
Stephen Jelley moved up to eighth position in the race following a promising start. However, Jelley's ambitions of making an impression on the leading pack were halted after Giovanardi shunted the Leicester-born driver.
Lap 17 saw Jelley exhibit his fighting quality as he spectacularly overtook Adam Jones and Mat Jackson in the same move to move up to 12th - a position he held to secure crucial independents championship points for Team RAC.
Colin Turkington drove one of his finest races of the 2008 season to record a podium finish despite starting fifth on the grid.
The deployment of the safety car in the second half of the race appeared to take the momentum away from Turkington as Giovanardi closed in. Far from being deterred, Turkington continued to attack and following a puncture for Darren Turner, pressured Gordon Shedden into a mistake to take a hard-earned second place.
Following another promising start, Stephen Jelley's progress was cruelly curtailed when Matt Neal shunted into the back of the Team RAC car, forcing him to spin-off the track and re-build his race yet again.
Jelley worked his way through the field that confronted him, eventually finishing 11th and earning four more independents points.
Stephen Jelley matched his best performance of the season to finish in a creditable ninth position after a keenly contested race three.
Jelley held off the continued challenge of Rob Collard to score another two points in the overall Drivers championship.
Colin Turkington, carrying a ballast of 36kg, improved on his starting grid position of seventh having passed Rob Collard early on. He eventually finished in a well-earned sixth place - maintaining his position as the in-form driver in the BTCC.
Colin Turkington commented: "It's been another great day for Team RAC with two Independents victories and a podium finish overall. There was plenty of action on the track with lots of incidents - it was just a matter of steering clear of any trouble."
Stephen Jelley was already looking forward to the next round at Oulton Park: "I can't wait for it. The car is feeling really good right now and I'm getting more confident and comfortable with each race.
"Oulton Park is a track where I have historically accumulated most points. It's a great place to drive and suits me down to the ground."
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts said: "I'm very pleased all in all. We have now achieved excellent reliability from the Team RAC BMW's and Colin has had five podium finishes in the last nine races.
"To be the first normally aspirated car home in the second race here is no mean achievement. There is a real buzz in the team at the moment and everyone is looking forward to Oulton Park in a couple of weeks."
Kerry Gazzard, RAC sponsorship and PR consultant, said: "It was a great effort by all at Team RAC, and it's fantastic to be going into the seventh round at Oulton leading the Independent Driver and Team championships.
"Team RAC always enjoys visits to its home track at Snetterton to meet the core of its fan base and great to give them good results to go home with."
The BTCC heads north to Oulton Park for rounds 19, 20 and 21 on Sunday 27 July.
With the help of Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley, RAC continued its season long promotion to win a BMW. Fans can go online at teamrac.co.uk for a chance to win a car and a host of other top prizes.
For further information please contact:
Lexis Sport - 020 7908 6439 / 07966677110
Notes to editors:
The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was formed in 1958 and is the UK's most popular motor racing spectacle. Its race season comprises ten events at top circuits across the UK. It is contested by professional racing drivers in competition versions of every day road cars, giving it tremendous public appeal. Around 300,000 watch the BTCC trackside each year. www.btcc.net
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.
HiQ (part of Goodyear Dunlop) has become the BTCC's new title sponsor in 2008 in a new three-year agreement. It provides a fast-fit car care service at its 150 centres across the UK. In the next two years, that number will rise to 250 as HiQ embarks on revolutionising the fast-fit industry. It has already taken the lead by offering a unique online service www.hiqonline.co.uk for motorists to buy tyres and arrange a fitting appointment.