The eBay Motors team added more points to its tally despite a challenging weekend of competition in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.
Colin Turkington, Rob Collard and Nick Foster all added to their championship totals during the third meeting of the campaign, allowing the team to maintain a top four position in the HiQ Teams’ Championship with nine of the 30 races now run.
The high-speed nature of the Hampshire circuit, coupled with an abrasive track surface, saw the teams all-new NGTC-spec BMW 125i M-Sports running on a harder compound Dunlop tyre for the first time, and it proved to be a challenging experience for all three drivers.
Colin was the quickest in qualifying to secure tenth on the grid, with Rob and Nick lining up 16th and 17th for the opening race; Rob having suffered with a turbo issue that affected his performance during the 30 minute session.
Both Colin and Rob were able to make forward progress in the first race to take the flag in sixth and 13th positions, but it was a more difficult race for Nick, who was tipped into a spin on the second lap that dropped him to the back of the field. The end result was a 24th place finish.
Race two saw Colin run as high as fourth early on, but he was shuffled down the order as the race developed to finish eleventh, two places ahead of Rob who matched his race one result in 13th. Nick meanwhile battled his way up to 15th spot, although he missed out on a points finish after losing a place to Mat Jackson on the final lap.
The final race of the weekend again saw Colin lead the eBay challenge with his second top ten finish of the weekend; the 2009 champion rebounding from a difficult opening lap that saw him drop to 14th to fight back up to tenth. Rob had run tenth himself in the early stages before a spin exiting the final chicane saw him drop to the rear of the field, although he recovered to take the final point in 15th; two spots behind Nick who enjoyed his most competitive run of the weekend to pick up a points finish with 13th.
All three wins in Hampshire went the way of the factory Honda team, with Matt Neal taking honours in races one and two, and defending champion Gordon Shedden winning race three.
Next stop for the eBay Motors team is Oulton Park on the weekend of 8/9 June, with the team planning to use the four-week break before the visit to Cheshire to carry out further development work on the new BMW.
Colin Turkington (6th/11th/10th):
“It’s been a trying weekend for us but the simple fact is that that is where we are at the moment. Thruxton has been a difficult circuit for the BMW in the past and it certainly hasn’t been easy for us this time around. The circuits that are coming up are better suited to our car and hopefully we’ll be able to take a step forwards when we arrive at Oulton Park.”
Rob Collard (13th/13th/15th):
“It’s probably been the most difficult start to a season I’ve had, and it’s been another tough weekend. The problem in qualifying meant I was on the back-foot a bit and I had to push on race day to make up places. In race three, I just made a mistake exiting the chicane and I had no option but to wait for the field to come by so I could rejoin. It’s been tough for us with the tyres and I think they were just too hard for the rear-wheel drive cars as we’ve all struggled. We’ll work hard to improve over the gap and come out fighting at Oulton.”
Nick Foster (24th/16th/13th):
“Thruxton is a tough circuit and it’s suited the front-wheel cars more than us. My spin in race one left me right at the back and when you have lost the tow to the cars in front, it’s difficult to fight back. I battled forwards in races two and three and we made progress, but it’s been a challenging weekend for us all. We have a gap before Oulton Park when we can work to improve the car and do some testing, and Oulton Park and Croft are both circuits where we have traditionally gone well. Hopefully it’ll be the same this time around.”