Colin Turkington Takes Record Equalling BTCC Title
Two weeks ago Kent’s Brand Hatch circuit played host to a thrilling BTCC title decider. In a day that anything that could happen, everything did happen and it was BMW’s Colin Turkington which came out on top and clinched a record-equalling 4th BTCC title.
Drama and the British Touring Car Championship have long gone hand in hand. Famed for bumper to bumper, door handle to door handle all-out racing, the BTCC is arguably one of the most entertaining championships out there.
With a season playing out over 10 rounds, each consisting of 3 races apiece, naturally there is much frenetic action throughout the field as 32 drivers battle it out for overall honours and in 2019, the competition was hotter than ever.
Heading into the 2019 season, Turkington found himself behind the wheel of the all-new and impressive looking BMW 3-Series. Prepared by his team, West Surrey Racing, the BMW 3-Series quickly caught the paddocks attention as it leapt towards race victories in devasting fashion.
It would be Colin Turkington who would establish himself as the man to be caught early on, however, come the Brands Hatch title decider, teammate Andrew Jordan and Honda rival Dan Cammish had built excellent campaigns which saw them firmly in contention. The former battling back from 3 non-scores at the Donington Park rounds earlier in the year after a race one crash ruled Jordan out of the rest of that day’s events.
Tight racing has always been very much the order of the day for the BTCC and on championship decider day, this is exactly what we got along with some tricky mixed weather conditions.
Close rival Dan Cammish took first blood in race one to put on a dominant display. Carving through the field on slick tyres as the rain came down, Cammish had the measure of Turkington as he clawed back valuable points in the title race. With Honda teammate Matt Neal coming home in second, it was the perfect start to the day for Cammish’s title ambitions.
Race two and controversy beckoned for championship leader Turkington. A strong start left the BMW man vulnerable to attack as Matt Neal fell in behind him. Just a matter of corners after the start and Turkington was spun around by Neal. Given the stakes involved, suspicious around the incident grew with Matt Neal ending up on the receiving end of a grid penalty for the following race.
With rain still in the air, albeit not heavy, Colin Turkington gambled on a change of tyres, however, this was to prove decisive as the Irishman was unable to get heat into his tyres to mount a comeback. Languishing near the back of the field, Turkington trailed home in 25th place whilst title rivals Jordan and Cammish finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
With everything to play for, race three saw all three contenders in with a genuine chance of title success. With the lights going out, Turkington made a demon getaway and recovered 10 places on the first lap alone. Elsewhere rivals Cammish and Jordan would also carve through the pack. Turkington was still making progress but not at a fast enough rate. Cammish was in place and all he needed to do was maintain position and see the chequered flag.
However, on lap 14 of 15, Cammish would be dealt a cruel twist of fate as he experienced brake failure with just a lap and a half to go. It would be his first retirement of the season but a retirement that would hand Turkington the title. With Jordan stalled in 4th place behind Subaru man Ash Sutton, Turkington had driven a stellar race to obtain a two-point lead at the top of the standings to win the championship title.
A day packed full of highs, lows and drama, Turkington delivered a fine performance in the face of tough adversity to deliver the championship. Congratulations Colin Turkington on a 4th, and record-equalling, British Touring Car Championship title.