WSR and BMW scored a sensational double win at Snetterton on Sunday to leave the track at the top of the British Touring Car Championship’s Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ title races.
Drivers Colin Turkington and Jake Hill completed a pair of one-two results in their BMW 330e M Sports in the first two races of the day while Stephen Jelley added a pair of fifth-place finishes to ensure sizeable points hauls for both Team BMW and ROKiT MB Motorsport.
On a day when he made his 500th BTCC race start, Team BMW racer Colin was in imperious form. Starting the opening race from his third pole position of the year, the Northern Irishman was never headed, resisting a determined charge from Jake throughout.
The battle was even more intense in Race Two as the pair ran side-by-side for half of the opening lap; Colin eventually emerging ahead and driving on to his third win of 2022.
There was high drama at the start of the final race as Colin – who had been drawn ninth on the partially-reversed grid – suffered a failure of the hybrid system, leaving his car initially unable to start.
Quick thinking by the WSR engineering team prevented the need to withdraw the BMW from the race and Colin responded with a true champion’s drive to sixth place without hybrid power available – one spot behind Jake’s ROKiT MB Motorsport machine.
Colin’s 55-point haul increased his lead at the head of the Drivers’ Championship from five points to 15 with nine races left.
Kent racer Jake – whose double podium pushed him to five in a row for the first time in his BTCC career – is third overall, just nine points off the runner-up spot.
Stephen Jelley’s looked set for his biggest weekend points haul of the year; a pair of fifth places in the first two races helping Team BMW to move into the lead of the Teams’ Championship for the first time in 2022.
Lying sixth in Race Three, he was a victim of an incredibly poorly-judged overtaking move by Rory Butcher at The Esses; Stephen’s BMW being spun helplessly into the dirt at the edge of the track. He rejoined at the back and finished a frustrated 21st.
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “All the sessions I had really good pace. I just feel disappointed. We’ve had the best package in the hot conditions with the BMW, and honestly two fifth places doesn’t reflect the performance we had. I’m still annoyed at the qualifying penalty because I don’t feel it was just, and that’s put me on the back foot for Races One and Two because we should have had a WSR one-two-three and had the photo for the wall of the workshop. We all deserved it for the amount of effort and resource that’s gone into this car. Then to end Race Three as it did is so disappointing. It’s a move that wasn’t on from a car that wasn’t quick driven by a driver who can’t go down a straight without banging into someone. He’s turned me round and put me in a dangerous position facing the oncoming traffic. It could have been a monumental accident.”
Jake Hill (ROKiT MB Motorsport) said: “I always feel anything over 40 points is a good weekend and I’ve bagged 45 here after my 59 at Knockhill, so it’s a very good weekend. Colin’s just had the edge on me this weekend, but overall I’m still very pleased as we really have done very well. I’ve had five podiums in a row, which I’ve never done before in my BTCC career, so that’s another highlight for me. The BMW was in a good window all weekend and a pair of one-twos is obviously very good for WSR and BMW. We’re right there in the title fight with three rounds to go, so it’s definitely all to play for.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s been a very good day both in terms of the overall performance and for the championship. Two wins for Colin, two second places for Jake and two strong top-fives for Stephen were very well-earned. The result for Colin in Race Three was especially satisfying. There was a hybrid failure on his car before the start and were advised to retire the car, but as a team we found a way around the issue and got Colin going. The points he got there could be the difference between winning the championship or not, so it was crucial we did something. The big disappointment was the outrageous move by Rory Butcher on Stephen in Race Three. It’s needlessly cost us a lot of points for the Teams’ Championship.”