Article date: 3 August 2009
Team RAC’s Colin Turkington still leads the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship following a successful day at Snetterton.
The Ulsterman won the final race of the day, with a second place in race two ensuring that he remains the man to catch as the Championship heads to Knockhill.
Stephen Jelley had a day of mixed fortunes, with a fighting sixth place in race one, before collisions put him out of points-scoring positions in races two and three.
Team RAC lie in 2nd position in the overall Teams’ Championship with Colin Turkington leading the Drivers’ Championship.
An action-packed race saw Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley take fifth and sixth placed finishes respectively in the first touring car round of the day.
Starting second on the grid, a clean getaway from Championship leader Turkington saw him head the field going into the first corner. However, moments later Turkington received a tap from Jason Plato which sent the Team RAC man spinning off onto the grass, but he managed to rejoin the race in eighth position.
Teammate Stephen Jelley also got a good start, which saw him take three places on the first lap. Turkington and Jelley exchanged places before overtaking Adam Jones for seventh and eighth positions.
Retirements from James Thompson and Andrew Jordan saw the Team RAC drivers climb to fifth and sixth, where they remained for the final seven laps.
Colin Turkington secured his ninth podium of the season with a fantastic second place finish having started fifth on the grid.
The Team RAC man passed Paul O’Neill for fourth place on the first lap. Having moved up to third position, Turkington then chased down and passed Jonathan Adam for second on lap eight and then closed in on race-leader Giovanardi until the chequered flag..
Teammate Stephen Jelley was rather less fortunate. Starting just behind Turkington in sixth on the grid, the Leicester man spun off on lap one, following a tangle with Adam Jones, leaving him in last place.
Jelley drove well for the remainder of the race finishing in 13th, but out of the points.
A brilliant drive from Colin Turkington saw the Championship leader bag his sixth win of the season having started eighth on the reverse grid.
Turkington took four places on the first lap before moving past Jonathan Adam and into the podium positions. A big crash involving race leader Rob Collard saw the Team RAC man move up into second.
Collard was tagged by Nash at the esses and spun onto the infield, unfortunately the car rolled back onto the track in front of the innocent Jelley who was challenging Matt Neal for fifth position.
Former Team RAC driver Rob Collard suffered injuries to his ribs in the incident and everyone at Team RAC wishes him a speedy recovery in time for the next round at Knockhill.
The heavy damage sustained to the BMW forced Jelley to retire, whilst Turkington held off late pressure from Championship rival Fabrizio Giovanardi to cross the line second. Turkington was subsequently promoted to first place following the exclusion of James Nash for causing the accident that eliminated Collard and Jelley.
Colin Turkington said: “To hit the podium twice is very pleasing considering the start we had to the day. There was a real chance of a win in race one but the coming together with Plato set us back a bit.
“The Team RAC BMW gave us a platform for strong performances in races two and three. The racing was very intense so we’re pleased to come away with a good points haul.”
Stephen Jelley said: “The day started well but once again that little bit of luck was absent. The car was quick and a sixth place finish in the first race was a good result having started 10th.
“I was going well in race two but got a tap from behind at high speed which sent me off the track and out of contention. We got a great start in the final race and a podium was a real possibility but the collision with Collard’s car was really unfortunate. Hopefully luck will improve at Knockhill.”
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts said: “Overall it was a good weekend for the WSR prepared Team RAC BMW’s with Colin maintaining his lead in the Drivers’ Championship and the team increasing the gap at the top of the Independents’ standings.
"The BMW’s were quick all weekend, but both drivers were the innocent victims of other competitors’ actions, with Stephen coming out of it worse than Colin. We’ve only got a week to turn the cars round before heading off to Knockhill, so the team will once again be putting in some long hours.”
Kerry Gazzard, RAC sponsorship & PR consultant, said: “It was great to see the Team RAC fans turn out in force once again after the mid-season break. It was definitely a weekend of mixed fortunes for the team but we are already looking forward to Knockhill.”
Team RAC currently leads the Independent Teams Championship with 208 points. Colin Turkington leads the Independent Drivers Championship with 202 points, whilst Stephen Jelley lies in sixth with 91 points.
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Notes to editors:
The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was formed in 1958 and is Britain’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. Some 325,000 watch the BTCC trackside each year. www.btcc.net
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RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by J D Power and Associates’ UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last three years.
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HiQ (part of Goodyear Dunlop) became 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.