TURVEY KEEPS SWR ON THE PODIUM Oliver Turvey brought Team SWR another podium finish in the eighth round of the Formula BMW UK Championship at Oulton Park on Sunday, finishing in a very strong third place on a day when his team-mates' ...
TURVEY KEEPS SWR ON THE PODIUM
Oliver Turvey brought Team SWR another podium finish in the eighth round of the Formula BMW UK Championship at Oulton Park on Sunday, finishing in a very strong third place on a day when his team-mates' points scoring opportunities were stymied by the wayward driving of others.
SWR's weekend gathered momentum after a slow start in the opening qualifying session, where Turvey and team-mates Lars Viljoen, Matt Harris and Paul Rees were only 13th, 14th, 19th and 23rd having vainly chased opportunities for clear, clean laps. Viljoen had most reason to be content, getting within 0.01s of his rather more experienced team-mate Turvey.
It was Turvey who made the most progress in the opening race, storming through to ninth place and setting much faster lap times than the cars in front. One of the few drivers to get stuck in and do some overtaking in what SWR team principal Trevor Powell described as "a fairly static race", Turvey set faster lap times than all bar the race winner Sam Bird. If he could have started higher up, Oliver clearly had the potential to finish on the podium, as he duly proved a few hours later in round eight.
Turvey had been on great form in the second qualifying session, placing his SWR car third on the grid despite being blocked on what should have been his quickest lap. He almost made it up to second at the start, but ran out of space and had to settle for third. Having comfortably seen off the challenge of Felix da Costa, Oliver cruised home for his second podium finish in as many meetings. Remarkably, despite missing the first four rounds due to a budget shortfall, Turvey is now joint eighth in the championship, and everyone at SWR hopes that he can find the funding to continue the season.
"Another excellent performance by Oliver," said Powell. "The Fortec cars are proving very hard to beat this weekend, but he had a really good go at them and didn't come under threat from anyone else. The Turveys are working very hard to find the money to do the next races at Croft, and we really hope they succeed because Oliver is a great asset to our team."
Viljoen and Harris may well have joined Turvey in the points, but they were on the receiving end of rivals' rough driving. Lars was stuck in traffic and finished 13th in race one, but a superb start to race two saw him vault from 15th to ninth. Unfortunately some aggressive blocking by Jack Goldstraw spoilt Viljoen's race. He was forced into the wall at the start but luckily escaped with only cosmetic damage, only to have to spin in avoidance as Goldstraw backed the pack up at Lodge a few laps later. He deserved better than his eventual 19th position. Harris was having similar tribulations -- taken out when Callum MacLeod slammed into the back of him early in race one, and then pushed onto the grass at the start of race two and condemned to 15th place. Rees avoided such drama, and coolly progressed to 16th in both races.
"I think Lars put in one of the drives of the weekend," said Powell. "His start was absolutely spot on in race two, it was just unfortunate that he was the victim of some fairly outrageous driving. It was a shame for Matt too, because he was driving strongly in the races and looked like he would do rather well had he not been taken out. Points were definitely possible.
"Matt's incident in race one was the third time this season that one of our drivers has seen a rival flying straight over the top of them, which is a real shame, because accidents like that have an effect on a driver's confidence. Once again, Matt was completely blameless, MacLeod just totally missed his braking point.
"I'm really pleased with Paul. He's come straight here from racing in the Canadian Grand Prix support race at Montreal last weekend, which was a great opportunity. The level of competition in the UK series is quite different to the USA, and that shook him initially, but he made good progress through the field in the races."
The Formula BMW UK Championship now commences a summer break, with the next rounds at Croft in Yorkshire four weeks from now.