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Jerry Zedman
01-08-2006, 08:55 AM
From Team RAC:


30 July 2006

Round 6 - Donington Park - Race Report

Turkington secures second win for Team RAC and reduces the gap in Championship title race
Once again there was plenty of action at the sixth round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park today in front of packed crowd consisting of 1,000 RAC staff. With a total points haul of 33, Team RAC's Colin Turkington retains his second place in the Championship and reduces the gap at the top of the table to 22 points, outperforming Matt Neal and Jason Plato in the process.

Rob Collard must be wondering when his run of bad luck will come to an end as the final blow came in the last race of the day when he was forced to retire having only just made it off the start line.

Race 1
Starting from second on the grid Colin got a good start and by the end of lap one had passed race leader Gordon Shedden (Team Halfords). Colin held onto the lead until lap six when the front two exchanged places once again. Despite Colin's best efforts he was unable to regain the place and took a very credible second place. Despite carrying 36kgs of success ballast weight, added due to his position in the Championship, he was able to stay ahead of Championship contenders Matt Neal and Jason Plato.

With a good start to the day, Colin said: "I'm pleased with that result as Gordon's obviously got a very quick car. The Team RAC car has got pretty good pace but I struggled a wee bit with the balance. The main contenders finished behind me and that's what counts. I'm starting from second again in the next race and Gordon will be quite heavy so I'm hoping to take advantage of that."

Having taken his six-place penalty on the grid, Rob started from started from 12th and made good progress during the early stages of the race moving up to 7th by the midway point of the 16-lap race. With an exchange of paintwork between the Team RAC car, Darren Turner and Mike Jordan Rob's race was run and he finished 9th.

Rob explained: "I made really good progress at the start and Darren (Turner) was defending really hard. Darren was a bit slow coming into Redgate, which pushed me wide and lost me time. I then let Mike (Jordan) and Darren battle amongst themselves and managed to get passe d the pair of them. I then took quite a hit from Jordan, which resulted in me colliding with Turner. I could do nothing about it. Unfortunately, I lost places and the brakes also take a real hammering around here and it affected my race in the closing stages.

VX Racing's Fabrizio Giovanardi completed the top three on the podium.

Race 2
The second race of the day was not short on action with the intervention of two safety car periods to retrieve cars from the gravel traps. The first incident involved Team RAC's Colin Turkington when contact with VX Racing's Tom Chilton sent Colin off the circuit. He managed to recover but was relegated 12th place.

Colin was then on the receiving end of a side swipe from SEAT's Darren Turner who was forced out of control when himself clipped from behind. Colin managed to claim 8th place by the time the chequered flag fell. On a disappointing outcome to the race, Colin said: "After contact with Chilton on the first lap my steering was all to one side and it was a case of just hanging on in. I'm pretty disappointed bearing in mind from where I started the race."

From 9th on the grid Rob started well and had made his way into 4th place by the end of the opening lap. It was at this point that the little luck that Rob did have today ran out when he was on the receiving of a touch from Matt Neal sending the Team RAC through the gravel. Rob was forced to make an unexpected pit stop for the team to fit new tyres. Rob returned to the race one lap down to set the fastest lap (1m13.523s), providing little consolation for the Eversley based driver. Rob finished the race in 13th.

He said: "I went well at the restart (following the second safety car period) and was just trying to keep it clean and out of trouble. Going through the Craner Curves I gave Matt (Neal) plenty of room but on the exit he drove into the side of me, pushing me off. I've been on the receiving end of the lot of criticism lately for my style of driving and I hope to see some consistency from the Clerk of the Course."

Race 3
Colin was on the receiving end of some good fortune, following the compulsory grid re-shuffle, placing him 2nd on the grid for the third time today whilst Rob took the 13th spot.

Once again good luck was not on Rob's side. At the start Jason Hughes headed for a gap between Mark Smith and Jason Plato sending the SEAT driver into a spin, collecting Rob and dispatching him into the pit straight wall. Stepping out of the car a little shaken, Rob said: "When I lined up on the grid the Alfa (Mark Smith) didn't pull up straight in his grid box and blocked my vision of the start lights. I may have been slow getting off the line but I did get passed the Alfa and I was up into third gear. I then took a huge hit from behind which put me straight into the barrier at about 70-80mph."

The race was red flagged to clear the debris from the grid and upon the race restart Colin made a good get away to take the lead. As all the action took place behind him the Northern Irishman took advantage to build up a 2.5 second lead. The race was once again interrupted to clear the damaged car of Eion Murray and Colin was faced once again with a restart.

The onset of rain turned the track greasy and the safety car was deployed to clear debris. This time it was the Honda of Mike Jordan. Colin's restart skills were tested once again with only two laps remaining of the race. In a nail-biting finish VX Racing's Fabrizio Giovanardi took the lead from Colin briefly before the Team RAC man regained the lead to take the chequered flag.

A delighted Colin said: "That was probably one of the toughest races I've even had to drive in may career. The rain came down and made the first half of the track really slippery but I got it together and tried to stay calm and I'm delighted to get another win. When I crossed the lap and saw there was only one lap to go, I couldn't believe it. I ran a little wide and Fabrizio got through, but I wasn't prepared to give up that easily."

Colin also secured fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m13.351. Gordon Shedden completed the top three finishers.

Summarising on Team RAC's performance, team principal Dick Bennetts added: "A fantastic result for Colin in race three and some fantastic racing for RAC staff to watch. I've already received several text messages of congratulations. I feel sorry for Rob having been taken out in last race before he had chance to show his ability. We've suffered a lot of damage this weekend and the guys have a lot of work to do before Snetterton."

Shaun Meadows, Marketing Director, RAC said: "Well done to Colin, it was a fantastic result and a perfect end to the day for Team RAC and especially for our 1,000 staff who were here today showing their support."

The next BTCC action takes place at Snetterton on 12/13 August.

Magnette Man
06-08-2006, 01:43 PM
Having just returned from Gran Canaria and missed the races. I've just watched them on the edge of my seat and loved every minute of it!!

Well done to Colin and WSR but shame about Robs fortune once again and poor Jason his car on the TV looked mullered (excuse the pun!)

Giovanardi saying he was dissappointed because he feels the lead was stolen and the win was rightly his because he was leading at that point. Well Colin only led the previous 17 so oh well!

Congratulations Team RAC - I'm sorry now that I couldnt be there!