Colin Turkington is in contention for a second championship in three years
(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
In this eight part series I will be looking at each of the eight drivers who have a mathematical chance of winning the 2016 British Touring Car Championship. The second part will be focusing on seventh placed Colin Turkington.
Sticking with Team BMR for a second season after winning the 2014 title with WSR the Northern Irishman found himself reunited with familiar machinery as the team switched to a manufacturer back Subaru program and rear wheel drive.
Like teammate Plato, he struggled in the early rounds at Brands Hatch and Donington as the team struggled with balance and reliability. He too was affected by the team’s decision to withdraw from the three races at Thruxton, a decision in hindsight may have cost him a stronger chance at the championship.
Turkington and Team BMR returned at Oulton Park for Round 4 of the season and immediately hit the ground running as in race 1 of the weekend Turkington won his first race of the season and in doing so, became the first driver in BTCC history to win a race in a Subaru. Although this victory was in a car with no ballast it proved that the Subaru had become a car to be reckoned with following its round break after the issues of Donington.
Race 2 at Oulton Park saw Turkington finish second and a seventh in the third race of the day. Round 5 saw the championship head to Croft and a circuit known to favour rear wheel drive cars. Statistically, it is also a favourite for Turkington who had claimed 10 victories at the circuit during his BTCC career prior to this season’s three rounds.
This season saw Colin add an extra win to that tally in the first race of the day, however a collision with his teammate Jason Plato in the second while leading cost him a second of the day, eventually finishing behind his teammate and Collard. Another seventh in the third race of the day in wet conditions rounded off his weekend.
Following the summer break, Turkington continued where he left off, still outside the top 10 in the championship, meaning no success ballast he was able to take the first win of the day at Snetterton, after overtaking Shedden for the lead on lap 8. This bought his win tally up to three for the season. A second in race 2 at Snetterton was followed by a sixth in the final race of the day. Both the second and third races were shortened to 10 laps after monster crashes at the start of both races. These three results saw Turkington leap up the standings to fifth in the standings, only 34 points behind the lead.
Onto Knockhill and despite a third and a fourth place in the first two races, a DNF in the third race of the day after contact with Rob Collard really cost him. Similar to Croft, Knockhill is known as a circuit that favours rear wheel drive and despite some hugely impressive overtakes throughout the day, Turkington may have felt he could have got more out of the three races.
Despite this, the third race of the day at Knockhill was the last time Turkington was out of the points. Although he hasn’t hit the heights of mid season again, a single third place in the final race of the day at Rockingham being a highlight, he has continuously scored points to keep him in the championship hunt.
Similarly to teammate Plato, Turkington will need a lot of permeations to go his way if he is to be crowned 2016 BTCC champion, however with two championships under his belt, he knows how to win.