Colin Turkington believes that BMW are ‘moving in the right direction’ after the one-day test at Thruxton last week, with the reigning champion confident ahead of this weekend’s second British Touring Car Championship meeting at Donington Park.
Despite qualifying third fastest in the all-new BMW 330i M Sport on the Saturday at Brands Hatch, wet weather threw a spanner in the works for the WSR-run squad and Turkington could only end race one outside the points.
The rest of the weekend then became about recovering lost ground, and the Northern Irishman left the first event of the year just 13th overall in the drivers’ standings after picking up a 14th and fifth in races two and three.
At the recent Thruxton test day, Turkington completed 42 laps of the Hampshire circuit with a time that put him sixth overall, just half a second off the pace and the best of the BMW drivers.
That test has left the three-time champion in high spirits ahead of the second meeting of the year in the East Midlands this weekend.
“I feel we took a good step forward at the Thruxton test this week, with the focus of making the BMW 3 Series a bit more user-friendly and more suited to my driving style,” said Turkington.
“We’re definitely moving in the right direction and I go to Donington Park with more confidence and a stronger base set-up than I had at Brands Hatch.
“I didn’t feel at one with the new car over that weekend which made it difficult to attack, but in qualifying and race three, the pace was clear to see.
“Andrew [Jordan] proved what the 3 Series is capable of by winning race two and despite Donington not being one of our strongest tracks in recent times, I think the circuit will play to the strengths of the 3 Series’ excellent aerodynamics.”
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts believes that despite suiting front-wheel drive cars more, Donington Park could work well for the new BMW saloon, with Turkington having previously won the reverse-grid third race in 2017 in the BMW 125i M Sport.
“Considering how little mileage we’d had before Brands Hatch, the speed of the new BMW was extremely promising,” said Bennetts. “We just suffered a bit with the way the weather fell on race day.
“The test at Thruxton last week helped us to fine-tune a few things and we should be able to take another step forward at Donington. It’s traditionally favoured front-wheel-drive cars, but the past few seasons have worked out okay for us with some wins and podiums.
“Neither Colin, nor Tom [Oliphant], carry success ballast into the event either, so we’re definitely aiming for good points. I guess a lot will depend on the weather again.”