Article date: 1 September 2009
Team RAC’s Colin Turkington still leads the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, after a successful day at Silverstone.
Two fourth placed finishes and an impressive podium in the final race of the day meant Turkington extended his lead over nearest rival Fabrizio Giovannardi going into the penultimate round at Rockingham on Sunday 20 September.
Team RAC lie in second position in the overall Teams’ Championship with Colin Turkington also leading the Independent Drivers’ Championship.
A closely fought first race of the day saw Colin Turkington claim a fourth placed finish and team-mate Stephen Jelley seventh place in the Team RAC BMW.
Having started fifth and sixth respectively, Turkington and Jelley both made cautious getaways, each of them dropping a place on the opening lap. Jelley then traded places with current champion Fabrizio Giovannardi before re-taking Adam three laps from the end to finish seventh.
Championship leader Turkington, kept his customary composure to pass Jonathon Adam before hunting down his old team-mate Rob Collard to finish just outside the podium positions in fourth.
Team RAC newcomer Anthony Reid suffered disappointment in his first race back since his return to WSR and the BTCC. Having started 10th a collision with Tom Onslow-Cole on lap four led to Reid suffering damage to his rear wheel, which put him out of the race.
Colin Turkington once again narrowly missed out on a podium after finishing fourth on an increasingly wet track. The Ulsterman got off to a blistering start, passing James Nash for third place off the line.
However, having started on slick tyres, the persistent rain made conditions tricky for the rear wheel drive Team RAC BMW and played directly into the hands of the championship rival Fabrizio Giovannardi who passed Turkington on lap 14.
Stephen Jelley also started the race well, passing Jonathon Adam and Rob Collard to move up to sixth. However, luck deserted Jelley once more when he spun in the treacherous conditions putting him back to 14th and out of points contention.
Jelley eventually came home in 12th, ahead of team-mate Anthony Reid who finished a respectable 14th having started from the back of grid after his retirement in race one.
Colin Turkington drove superbly to claim a spot on the podium having started sixth on the reverse grid for the final race of the day.
Conditions were more favourable for the BMW and a dry track meant Turkington was able to use his superior pace off the line to take three places before the first corner.
The outcome may have been even better. Turkington passed Jonathon Adam for second place on lap two before a momentary engine cut-out saw Mat Jackson overtake the Team RAC man.
Team-mate Stephen Jelley drove arguably his best race of the season to follow Turkington home in fourth. Jelley made up four places on the first lap before passing both Jason Plato, Jonathon Adam and Fabrizio Giovannardi to boost his points haul for the season and further aid Turkington in his quest for the Championship.
Anthony Reid drove solidly once again on his return to BTCC racing to finish in 13th but out of the points.
Colin Turkington said: “Considering the indifferent weather conditions, I’m happy with the results I’ve had. The damp track doesn’t suit us and in the second race and we quickly lost heat in the tyres and lap times suffered.
“We showed how quick we were once the circuit dried out for the third race, and to come away with another podium and to extend my lead in the Championship is a real confidence boost. We should be quick again at Rockingham.”
Stephen Jelley said: “After the disappointment of race two, it was great to be up there and challenging again in the final race. The car had great pace and I drove as well as I have done all season to get up to fourth. I’m very much looking forward to Rockingham and hopefully hitting the podium once more.”
Anthony Reid said: ”It’s a great feeling to be back behind the wheel in the BTCC again. The results are not quite what I would have hoped for, but I’ve been amazed at the support I’ve received from Team RAC and the fans. It’s been great racing with Colin and Stephen and hopefully I can be more competitive next time around.”
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts said: “Overall it was another good weekend for the team in at times very difficult conditions. Stephen’s drive in the third race was outstanding; his passing manoeuvres on Plato and Giovanardi were really aggressive, but clean. He then showed what a great team-player he is by staying behind Colin despite probably having the faster car.
It was a tough weekend for Anthony as the first time he drove the WSR prepared BMW in anger was in Saturday’s free practice. He got quicker as the weekend went on though, and by race three he was right on the pace of Colin and Stephen.”
Kerry Gazzard, RAC sponsorship and PR consultant, said: “It was great to have a third Team RAC BMW lining up on the grid. It was certainly a testing day but our fans braved the weather once again to cheer us on. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to winning ways at Rockingham in three weeks time.”
Team RAC currently leads the Independent Teams Championship with 274 points. Colin Turkington still leads the Drivers Championship on 232 points, whilst Stephen Jelley lies in eighth with 93 points.
Team RAC is launching its search for the most, loyal passionate and dedicated fan in the BTCC. One lucky winner will receive a VIP hospitality package to the last round of the season at Brands Hatch on 4 October, courtesy of Team RAC. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information please contact:
0207 908 6439
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.
RAC is part of Aviva, the world’s fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.
RAC’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk.
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.