Stephen Jelley scored his first British Touring Car Championship victory of the season on Sunday to put BMW and WSR back on the top step of the podium for the third time in 2022.
The Team BMW driver, who has endured some terrible luck this year, was drawn on pole position on Race Three’s partially-reversed grid and produced a flawless performance to record a lights-to-flag victory to end the weekend on the ultimate high.
It was the fourth win of the Leicester driver’s BTCC career and his first since rejoining WSR - for whom he also raced in 2008-09, last year, to race as part of the Team BMW line-up.
Added to 11th and 12th places earlier in the day, Stephen scored the same number of points as the championship leader at Oulton Park, rocketing up seven spots in the Drivers’ standings.
Team-mate Colin Turkington had driven sensationally across the day’s opening two races. From ninth on the grid in the opener he climbed to fourth by the finish and then went one better in Race Two.
The Northern Irishman’s fourth podium finish of the season - and the 166th of his BTCC career - closed him to within 14 points of the championship leader and meant he had an opportunity to hit the front of the standings in Race Three.
Unfortunately for the four-time champion, he was an innocent victim in a multi-car incident on the opening lap when he suffered a heavy impact with a stationary car just beyond a blind rise after the uphill exit from the Island hairpin.
The severity of the impact left him with soreness in his neck and chest, but was otherwise a testament to the strength and safety of the BMW 330e M Sport race car, which was designed and built by WSR.
Colin is fourth in the points as a result, one place ahead of WSR stablemate Jake Hill, who competes for ROKiT MB Motorsport.
After being driven off the track during qualifying and starting only 15th, the Kent racer suffered early contact that damaged the front end of his BMW, restricting him to 13th spot.
The shorter-than-usual gap between Races One and Two - due to both being broadcast on ITV’s flagship channel - left Jake’s crew with a race against time to effect repairs before the start.
They finished the job and sent him to the grid with just seconds to spare before pitlane closed - narrowly avoiding being consigned to a pitlane start - and Jake responded magnificently with a charge from 13th to seventh.
A bruising first lap resulted in him falling to the back of the pack, but yet more determined driving enabled him to climb to 13th with the fastest lap - achieved despite two flat-spotted tyres.
He maintained fifth in the Drivers’ Standings with BMW second in the Manufacturers’ points with four of five events completed.
Colin Turkington, Team BMW, said: “It was a really good day before Race Three. To have qualified ninth and then had fourth and third was a big step forwards and we made the BMW super-competitive. Championship-wise it was exactly what we needed. In Race Three the cars went either way in front me and I just had no chance to avoid the stationary car. It was a big hit. I’m pretty sore but I’m sure I’ll be fine in a few days.”
Jake Hill, ROKiT MB Motorsport, said: “Qualifying ruined the weekend and put us on the back foot today, which is a shame because we had fantastic pace from the BMW in race trim. My crew did an amazing job to repair the car and get me out with seconds to go before the pitlane closed before Race Two. From there Race Two was brilliant and even in Race Three with two flat-spotted tyres I was able to set the fastest lap and score points from the back. We’ll be right back on it for Croft.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s been a mixed weekend, but obviously it’s been very good to finish it with a win for Stephen. He’s been carrying the weight on his shoulders for a while but now that’s lifted and he’ll have so much confidence as a result. The speed of the BMWs has been very strong in race trim and we saw that in the way that both Colin and Jake could make up places at such a narrow track where passing is hard. Colin drove like the champion he is in Races One and Two and the incident in Race Three - in which he was an innocent victim - was caused by over-aggressive driving by others - which there’s been far too much of this weekend.”