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Turkington leads BMR Blast Off at Snetterton

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

In a truly resplendent Snetterton showing, BMR have shattered the opposition with a dominant 1-2-3 in qualifying, with Irishman Turkington leading the charge. Having grabbed attention with their new livery unveiling, Team BMR have made their intentions clear for tomorrow’s race day. The returning Ford’s however failed to capitalise on their impressive results at the Snetteron test, with Jackson and Cole only managing 14th and 20th respectively in what turned out to be a highly competitive session.

As the field rolled out for qualifying, there was no telling who would top the time sheets. The first two free practice sessions had seen Priaulx and Jordan taking the top spot, all while expectations were high for the returning Ford Motorbase team of Mat Jackson and James Cole. As the results poured in for free practice, I was gearing up to put my money on Priaulx and the ever increasing power of the West Surrey Racing BMW team.

Qualifying started rather badly for Turkington, who very nearly suffered a case of the Yvan Mullers (from Donington 1999) when one of his bonnet pins was not secured properly. Down the back straight, it was looking like the bonnet may completely blow up into his windscreen. Luckily for him however he was able to get back to the pits and get everything sorted, before going out and delivering a near-perfect lap of the Snetterton circuit,

“I put a really strong lap together, we’ve had a strong weekend but it was just about finding the perfect balance and getting the best lap”

Photo Credit: PSP Images

Photo Credit: PSP Images

When Motorbase announced their Snetteron returned, a great many of us placed considerable amount of pressure on them. For whether willingly or not, they are in fact emanating the Ford team of 1993, which back then consisted of Andy Rouse and Paul Radisich. The ’93 Ford team started the season half way through, yet ended the year in a near championship challenging position. Having topped the Dunlop tyre test at Snetteron, Jackson was unable to recreate that same success during qualifying. His disappointment was obvious but the determination for race day shines through in his tweet:

“Qualified 14th but not a lot in the times. Going to have to work my way up through the field tomorrow…”

The combination of Jackson and Cole should prove to be a formidable threat to the establishment as the season moves on. They have both proven themselves and with such an epic machine (engine especially) under them, it won’t be long until the podiums start heading their way. And on a more personal note, the new look Fords are stunning things of pure power and beauty. There may be an absence of colour but their presence could not be more colossally kaleidoscopic. There is no doubt that Motorbase will be hauling in the points tomorrow – but is the pressure of the past getting to them? Can anyone stand in the shoes of the great Rouse and Radisich? Not long until we find out!

Qualifying Results

Special mention I do believe should go the way of the Triple 8 team, who came so very close to securing pole at the hands of Jack Goff. As the session was reaching its final few seconds, Jack Goff was on an absolute flyer of a lap, smashing the sector times, until he missed his own braking point at the end of the back straight. Chances are that was a guaranteed pole, lost only by his own hubris. Andrew Jordan in the truly magnificent silver Pirtek MG has an impressive 4th for the first race tomorrow; not something to be disappointed with at all!

I was a little shocked for Gordon Shedden, who was languishing in a lowly 16th place. In typical racing driver fashion, the fault has been placed not with him but with power steering issues. As annoying as that must be, it will create a great spectacle for the fans to see him carving through the field during the first race tomorrow!

Did I mention too that the top 17 drivers are covered by less than a second? Nothing is more concrete proof of the success of both the regulations and championship as a whole than this. Different cars, different drivers, small budgets and yet well, the results speak for themselves.

With all the bad luck this year, Bushell did well to come from not setting a competitive time in most of the session to placing his Ford in 22nd on the grid. Nic Hamilton did a fine job to qualify 26th and is excited to get mixed up in the pack in the races tomorrow. With every lap, every corner, every gear you can see the improvement. Commiserations must go out to Gallagher in the Team HARD Toyota who had been blighted with engine troubles in FP2, resulting in him starting his Snetterton race day campaign from the back of the grid.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

If the BTCC grid was to be considered as a sandwich, the cars that create the ‘bread’ could not be more appropriate. Going into the Snetterton weekend, BMR unveiled their new liveries and title sponsor. Those of the Sherlock persuasion will notice that the name RCIB Insurance Racing has been seen before. They are the sponsors that Tony Gilham of Team HARD brought into the championship and adorn the Toyota of Gallagher. On top of that, RCIB still have an involvement with Jack Goff, who can be seen sporting their logo, just not as obviously.

In many ways, having dominant VWs with the RCIB name on is exactly what Gilham would have wanted. After all, it was him and Team HARD that first brought the Passat into the championship those many moons ago. It is just a shame that these VWs are now under BMR control. I have noticed that there has been some malcontent among the fans of Gallagher, who have taken the view that the BMR cars should not take the RCIB name.

But my view, such as that of Tim Harvey is that if there is a good deal to be made with a team that is at the front of the grid, then what is stopping you. Without any insult to Gallagher at all, he is a great driver, but due to problems with his car he is often at the bottom of the grid. If you were a sponsor who wanted a greater motor sport involvement, your success and company visibility will be greatly improved if your name is on a front running car. This is no F1, but motor sport does have a strong business aspect to it.

There is a similarity in look, but if you wanted to get technical, the Gallagher car has black as the main colour, where BMR seem to have white. Furthermore, if they want to expand further into the championship and sponsor more cars and drivers, why bite the hand that feeds? We are living in a time where finances may not be as easily available as they once were. The continued and increasing involvement from RCIB may well ensure the ongoing success of the BTCC.

Either that or this is the start of their plan to take over the world. We have all wondered what happened to them. They disappeared from our television screens in the 90s. But they are back, this is all part of the latest plan by Pinky and the Brain, under the guise of RCIB Insurance…

Roll on race day!

Get involved with the race day chat @lewisglynn69 on Twitter!

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Peace and Love!