From Turmoil to Triumph: Turkington Stages Heroic Comeback to Complete BMW Clean-Sweep at Oulton Park
The jubilation shown by Colin Turkington as he took his place on the top podium step on Sunday was not just of a man celebrating his 65th victory in BTCC, but of a driver who had just overcome insurmountable odds in a comeback worthy of British motorsport legend.
There has been much debate in the last couple of years that regulations and technical advances have come at the cost of a level of excitement that the competition was renowned for, but this Sunday we were treated to a display that proved the magic of BTCC is still very much alive.
Earning his spot in the Top Ten Showdown on Saturday afternoon, the Northern Irishman was set to start Sunday’s first race in seventh after Q2. However, these plans were soon turned on their head after a fuel regulation failure was identified during scrutineering and saw him disqualified from the qualifying results, fated to start from the very back of the grid.
The record-tying four-time champion soon proved why the West Surrey Racing machines are very rarely at the back of the pack, making spectacular progress in the first race to finish in ninth place.
A three-place penalty given to WSR team-mate Adam Morgan bumped Turkington up to eighth for the start of race two, where he continued his surge by gaining two places up to sixth before the safety car was deployed.
Turkington continued chipping away at the gap between himself and the top five before taking places from Napa Racing UK’s Dan Cammish and Toyota Gazoo Racing UK’s Ricky Collard, securing fourth spot. Despite his best efforts to grab Tom Ingram’s last podium spot, late braking from the reigning champion coming out of Lodge ensured Turkington was kept behind.
A three-place penalty to One Motorsport with Starline Racing’s Josh Cook saw the Northern Irishman promoted to third for the reverse grid finale.
After the dramatic opening few moments, which also saw championship leader Ash Sutton taken out of the race after he collided with the pit wall, Turkington surged past Dan Cammish into second, behind team-mate Adam Morgan, with Jake Hill behind rounding out a BMW 1-2-3 early on.
After a second safety car period, Turkington took full advantage of the restart, making a masterful play on Morgan on the first turn to draw alongside, taking the lead going into Cascades, as Hill followed him through into second.
A late lock-up raised a few eyebrows but it was to be the four-time champion’s day as he powered the BMW 330e M Sport over the line to round off a true fairy-tale story and a historic BMW clean-sweep after Jake Hill's two victories earlier in the day.
Colin Turkington, Team BMW, said: “It’s been the most amazing day. I was a bit down in the dumps last night knowing I had to start right at the back in P27 – right in the dip here! I did not think we could make the progress we have, though.
“This victory means so much. I had to really graft for it, having started right at the back at the beginning of the day in the doldrums to the top step of the podium. It really means a lot.
“There are not too many opportunities to overtake against a car which is the same as your own, so you have to try something different. It was maybe a move which Adam [Morgan] wasn’t expecting. I got a really good run on the hybrid coming out of the last corner to start the lap which really set me up to make the move. Having three BMWs on the podium is a fantastic feeling. Jake [Hill] was on my case, but I could see where we were strong and where we were not – so it was nice in the last few laps to stretch my legs at the front.”
His second victory of the season puts Colin Turkington in 4th place overall in the championship standings, 9 points behind team-mate Jake Hill and 35 points behind leader Ash Sutton.
The BTCC resumes on 29th and 30th July when it visits Croft.
BTCC Journalist @ F1 Journal