Team BMW’s Colin Turkington feels he ‘unlocked something in the car’ that helped him to claim two more British Touring Car Championship wins at Snetterton and extended his points lead.
Turkington was the form driver of the weekend, leading a BMW 1-2-3 in qualifying to take pole position despite having no hybrid allocation, before then going on to win the opening two races of the day.
The four-time champion concluded his weekend with a drive through to sixth in race three, his 500th BTCC start, from ninth on the grid, to leave him with a 15-point lead over tom Ingram heading into the final three events of the season.
“500 is a big milestone – any time you get an opportunity to win it’s a special moment,” said Turkington. “Up until this weekend I’ve only had one reverse grid win, so it’s a much nicer feeling to qualify on pole and win a race.
“Arguably race three, my 500th, was a harder race – but still, to get through to sixth and get ten points is just as important as the win, so it’s been a top weekend in terms of scoring points.
“That’s three years in a row where Snetterton has been kind to me in terms of winning races so I’m pleased that the wins came at this stage of the season.”
Turkington put his strong weekend performance down to finding the sweet spot in his tyres at just the right time in a scorching hot qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
“I think the BMW has always been strong here – even in the 1 Series I remember having a really good weekend battling with Jason.
“The strength of our car is in medium and high-speed corners and there’s quite a few of those here.
“It was really the lap in qualifying that set up my weekend. It was just the timing of the lap – given the high track temperatures we’ve had this weekend it was so important to do the lap when the tyre was at its peak and not start the lap with the rear tyres already cooked.”
In both of the first two races of the day, Turkington had to withstand heavy pressure from WSR stable-mate Jake Hill, who had run side-by-side with Turkington in a fight for the lead at the start of race two that lasted more than half a lap.
He also confirmed that there had been an agreement of sorts within the team prior to the races to avoid a repeat of the contact that he had with Hill at the start of the year.
“It was not so much team orders, but I would say more a strategy,” continued Turkington. “Both Jake and I approach the racing in a different way and I think as we get through the season we understand each other better.
“We’ve had two good races today in race one and two where it’s been nose-to-tail. I think we’ve both learned to just race with respect, that’s the policy, and that’s worked well today and that’s how I enjoy racing. I think it’s helping us both because we’re both able to keep moving forward.
“Lap one is the critical period where you can win or lose the race, so for me it was important to finish lap one in the lead, because I knew I had really good pace in the car with or without hybrid.
“I’ve been getting the car off the line really well today and it’s tough stuff when the guy beside you has got exactly the same machinery. We’ve seen many times before that track position counts for a lot.
“There’s a long way to go – nine races over a period of eight weeks, so there’s a lot more racing to do, and it only gets harder as we go through the last events.
“For this weekend I felt that we unlocked something for me in the car that’s probably been missing so far and that was evidenced by the pace I had in qualifying, race one and race two.
“It’s been working against the car a bit to this point, but ultimately that puts me in a good place as we go into Thruxton.”