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BTCC Oulton Park

West Surrey Racing explains Turkington BTCC Oulton Park exclusion

BMW team West Surrey Racing has explained the exclusion of Colin Turkington from Saturday’s British Touring Car Championship qualifying at Oulton Park.

Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport

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The four-time champion progressed from the original half-hour qualifying session into the top-10 shootout, where he ended up seventh at the wheel of his BMW 330e M Sport.

But Turkington was later excluded after it was found that there was an insufficient sample size in the car for a fuel test.

The catalyst for the error was a red flag after 10 minutes of the first qualifying session, caused by Will Powell spinning his Honda into the gravel at Druids.

Teams are not allowed to refuel their cars after the original qualifying session begins.

WSR team principal Dick Bennetts told Autosport: “It was just a miscalculation.

“When the red flag came out, Colin had just gone green in sector one.

“We normally would have put his second set of tyres on at that point, but because he’d just gone green we knew the tyres were still good, but when he went back out with the same tyres he couldn’t do a better time.

“Because of that he did an extra four laps, and that made the difference.

“The car is still overweight, so it’s a tough thing to happen.”

Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport

Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330e M Sport

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Turkington will therefore start the opening race from 27th and last on the grid, and will be carrying the hybrid boost penalty for sitting third in the championship, meaning he can only access it for three of the 15 laps at a minimum speed of 135km/h.

Meanwhile, Turkington’s WSR team-mate Jake Hill has attributed his front-row slot, the first for a BMW in a dry qualifying session in 2023, to a radical departure on set-up.

“We had a discussion at the start of the week of what we’re going to do,” explained Hill, who sits fourth in the championship.

“The way we’ve been going is just stale – we’ve been doing a sensible job all the time but not fighting for anything.

“Sure enough, in FP1 and FP2 I was very sceptical as to whether we’d made the right decision, but there were elements of the data that suggested we were onto something.

“So we went into qualifying in the unknown, but it ended up being a lovely car to drive.

“We just needed to make it more alive – we’ve been living in this set-up for 15 months since I joined the team, and it has worked, but we wanted to find a bit more.”

Hill is engineered by Craig Porley, who accompanied him to WSR after working with him during his AmD and Motorbase days, but who formerly worked with the Sunbury squad during its Super 2000 BMW era.

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