Team BMW had a tough qualifying session for the final round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch with series leader Colin Turkington eighth fastest and Tom Oliphant 12th.
However, there was still reason to celebrate, with Colin now confirmed as the winner of the inaugural Goodyear Wingfoot Award, as the driver with the best qualifying record across the 2020 season.
“We’re a bit disappointed,” commented Dick Bennett’s, Team Principal. “We certainly should be higher up, but we think we have an idea of what it might be. Colin at least rescued it and went from 12th to eighth, but we have three championship contenders ahead. On the other hand, we still have three 24-lap races. We’ll see what the weather brings us tomorrow.
“It’s very slippery, and this circuit does sort of does favour front-wheel drive. Tomorrow, we just need to be there at the end of each race, keep out of mischief, and hope the other people don’t attack us. The weather is also going to be very important.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly for mid-November, the conditions were wet throughout the day’s single practice and qualifying sessions at the Kent circuit that featured numerous incidents, but not involving either Team BMW driver.
Both Tom and Colin were lapping in the mid 55-second bracket throughout the first two-thirds of qualifying, with the WSR-run team opting to make a set-up change on Colin’s car after the session was red-flagged for a second time.
The change paid off and the Northern Irishman found another three-tenths of a second; popping his BMW 330i M Sport up into eighth position. He was about to head out for another run when the session was red-flagged again and then declared with two minutes left to run.
Tom struggled for grip and was unable to improve on his early 55.544s lap; with the Leamington Spa-based driver lamenting 12th spot on the grid, his equal worst qualifying result of the year.
Although not one of Colin’s qualifying highlights of 2020, his consistency throughout the year, with pole positions at Donington Park and Snetterton, means he has won the Goodyear Wingfoot Award.
The 38-year-old is now focusing on the Drivers’ Championship battle tomorrow, with BMW and Team BMW also leading the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ title races.