The eBay Motors team was able to celebrate its first victory of the year after a stunning end to the second round of the Dunlop MSA British Championship season at Donington Park.
In only the sixth race for the brand-new BMW 125i M-Sport, former series champion Colin Turkington took the chequered flag first to earn a maiden win for the new NGTC-spec machine, while team-mates Rob Collard and Nick Foster also showed encouraging speed, even if their performances on track weren’t reflected in the end results.
On the back of a test session at Snetterton following the season opener at Brands Hatch last month, the team headed into the weekend seeking to continue with the early development of the three new cars.
Qualifying at the East Midlands circuit saw Colin leading the way amongst the eBay Motors men with the eighth fastest time, with Rob securing twelfth spot. A more difficult session for Nick saw him lining up 21st for the opening 16 lap race of the weekend.
A trouble-free opener for Colin saw him maintain his eighth place from start to finish, while Rob and Nick both aimed to make progress up the order having chosen the first race to run the new soft tyre introduced by Dunlop for the 2013 season.
A strong start saw Rob jump up to tenth on the opening lap but he would slip back to 15th as the race wore on and the performance of his tyres dropped away, with a brief trip onto the grass at the Old Hairpin also costing him valuable time. Nick also made a good start to end the opening lap in 17th spot, and he would finish in the same position having come out on top of a late race battle with the Vauxhall of Jack Goff.
Race two saw Colin work his way up into the top six but contact from the MG of Sam Tordoff on lap 13 at Redgate was enough to cost him three places as he crossed the line in ninth place. Rob had worked his way forward to join Colin inside the top ten only for contact from the Ford of Aron Smith to cost him valuable time as he crossed the line in twelfth. Nick also got away well at the start, but having made a series of radical changes to his set-up for the race, he would suffer with understeer and battled his way to 16th place when the chequered flag fell.
The reverse grid draw saw Colin on the front row for the final race on the soft compound tyre, and a good start saw him jump ahead of pole-sitter Tom Onslow-Cole when the lights went out. Once out front, Colin set about building a lead and was comfortable in the lead throughout the race as he secured the team’s first victory of the season and his first since his title-winning campaign in 2009. He ends the weekend seventh in the championship standings and third amongst the Independents.
Rob’s hopes of a strong result were again ended by contact after he was tipped into a spin by Jeff Smith on the third lap and dropped down to 21st place. On the back foot as a result, Rob launched a fine recovery drive to cross the line in twelfth place – leaving him 17th in the championship standings and 13th amongst the Independents.
Nick’s weekend would end with another points finish as, having run as high as twelfth, he crossed the line in 15th spot having also suffered contact from a rival driver on track. He sits 16th in the championship title race and is eleventh in the Independents.
As a team, eBay Motors leaves Donington Park fourth in the HiQ Teams Championship and third in the Independents’ Team Trophy going to Thruxton for the third meeting of the campaign in two weeks time.
Colin Turkington (8th, 9th, 1st):
“Obviously I’m delighted with the result of the final race. I knew that the start was going to be critical and that if I got into the lead, I could try and break away from the cars behind. That’s exactly what I managed to do, and it was fantastic to get the win. This is a great reward for the guys who have worked so hard over the past six months to get the three cars built and ready for this season and I feel we’ve made a step forward this weekend. Hopefully this victory can be a springboard for us.”
Rob Collard (15th, 12th, 12th):
“After Brands Hatch, I needed a good weekend here so it’s a bit disappointing that I’ve not been able to come away from it with some stronger results. We’ve shown good signs of speed throughout the day but contact from other drivers in two of the races really hurt me. Without the contact in race two, I was on for a top ten finish and then I could have been right at the front with Colin for race three. Who knows what could have been possible then.”
Nick Foster (17th, 16th, 15th):
“It’s been a tough weekend for me personally and I’ve got to admit that I struggled a bit this weekend. After race one, we tried something a bit radical with the car in the second race and it didn’t work at all and I was struggling with understeer and then in the final race, I had some contact from [Andy] Jordan that didn’t help me. We’re still learning about the car and we’re making progress, even if the results don’t reflect it this weekend. My aim remains to be inside the top ten and we’ll work towards that at Thruxton.”
Dick Bennetts – team principal:
“We thought a podium was possible in the final race from the front row, so to get a victory in just the sixth race for the car is great. The reality is that we have been doing our testing programme in public in front of everyone, but we are now starting to get a better understanding of the NGTC car. It was unfortunate for Rob and Nick today but the three drivers are all doing a good job and we are making progress. The whole team has worked really hard to get to this point, and I want to thank them for it.”