Colin Turkington wins Oulton Park BTCC opener

Reigning British Touring Car Champion Colin Turkington managed his maximum ballast BMW 330i M-Sport to grab victory in the first race of the day at Oulton Park.

On the soft tyre, Turkington got away well from pole position with his BMW West Surrey Racing teammate Andrew Jordan trying to fight his way through to second before getting muscled out of it by Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Dan Cammish on the exit of turn one.

From second on the grid, Sam Tordoff slipped down to fifth behind his teammate Rory Butcher.

With one-third of the race gone, Cammish was beginning to slowly close the gap – setting the fastest lap of the race. However, Turkington managed to maintain his slender advantage over the works Honda driver.

The safety car was brought out a lap or two later after Cammish’s teammate Matt Neal lost his front left wheel going through Druids, sending the Halfords Yuasa Racing man into the tyre barrier.

At the restart, it was normal service resumed with Turkington controlling the race and his advantage over Cammish with Jordan still holding down third with the two AmD Tuning Honda Civic Type-R’s of Butcher and tordoff in fourth and fifth.

Further down the pack, Ashley Sutton tried diving up the inside of Adam Morgan at Cascades but hit the left rear of the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes A-Class causing left rear suspension damage and forcing Morgan to retire. Sutton continued on before then going up the inside of his former teammate Jason Plato at the Hairpin to go eighth.

Sutton yet again proved to be a fierce competitor in race one.

However, it was Turkington who took his third win of the season – two more than he managed in the whole of last year’s campaign.

“We got a great launch,” said Turkington. “I’ve been working on improving my speed off the line, but after that it was a tough race. It was really hard work with the weight, the car is just always on the move so you’re trying to pre-empt its next move before it does it.

“There was no stage in the race where I could just hold back – it was flat out the whole way. Dan (Cammish) was quicker than me down through the Hairpin, but I could see I was gapping him through the Chicane.

“I knew I couldn’t afford to look after the soft tyres, I knew the most difficult part of the race would be at the start where Dan would be fast so I had to push from the off but then obviously I got the gap again after the safety car.

“I’m just so pleased for all the Team BMW guys, we really didn’t expect to win this weekend coming into it with a heavy car, but we’ve seen before – when you get a car to the front of the pack you’ve got a better chance of keeping it there. Credit to Team BMW, the 3-Series strikes again – its just such a fantastic car to drive around Oulton Park.”

Cammish held off Jordan to take second place after another race where he just couldn’t get close enough to Turkington’s BMW.

Cammish said: “What more can I do? I think it was a great job by Colin (Turkington), he just has a gear that I can’t go to – maybe there’s a seventh ratio in there or something. At the start I felt I could put a little bit of pressure on him, but then you could almost see the body language, he just upped it.

“I had a little bit more than Andy (Andrew Jordan), but then he had more than the guy in fourth, so it was just all about protecting the car. I’m giving it absolutely everything, we had more today but we still haven’t got quite enough to quite got on top of this BMW, so we’ll go back to the drawing board and we’ll go again.”

Cammish couldn’t quite match the pace set by Turkington in race one.

“Dan got a much better start than I expected,” said Jordan. “He held his ground hard and fair, but I’d have done exactly the same, so it was a good little ‘Touring Car rub.’ But from then on, we just didn’t know how the softs were going to react. I had a little bit of oversteer in the car early on, so I was cautious about hurting the rear tyres, but I was pretty much running at a pace then because I knew I didn’t have enough to challenge Dan or Colin.”

Butcher held off his teammate Tordoff to take fourth with Tom Oliphant coming home sixth after failing to find a way past the two AmD Tuning Honda Civics’.

Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram came home in seventh with a hard-charging Sutton in eighth ahead of Plato with Motorbase Performance’s Ollie Jackson rounding out the top-10 after perfecting some great overtaking manoeuvres in a fiercely contested mid-field battle.

Turkington now holds a 27-point lead in the championship with Sutton six points ahead of Jordan in third who is now level on points with fourth-placed Josh Cook.

Header image from BTCC

By Jordan Hollands.

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