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Rob Collard: “I’d race tomorrow if I could”

Rob Collard praised the actions of the Silverstone officials as well as the British Touring Car Championship’s regulations after his monstrous crash in Sunday’s second race, declaring that he would ‘race tomorrow’ if he could.

Collard had dropped into the midfield in the latter stages of the race, having initially run in the top five, and was in 13th place on the penultimate lap when his rear was clipped by Jack Clarke as he tried to avoid the spinning Crabbie’s Racing machine, who himself had been tagged by Gordon Shedden.

The impact sent Collard’s BMW off balance, and he found himself pitched into the air, rolling multiple times before landing on his roof some seconds later on the outside of the Wellington straight. The race was red flagged shortly afterwards.

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The eBay Motors driver was quickly attended to by marshals, but after heading to the circuit’s medical centre he was flown to hospital for precautionary checks. Collard was later discharged that evening, escaping without injury.

And following his release from hospital, the 46-year-old insisted he was hungry to get back in the car to help teammate Colin Turkington in his bid for the championship title despite the shunt, but revealed his concerns for the condition of his machine.

“I was bracing myself for that initial hit on the roof and my natural instinct then was to just hang on,” explained Collard. “The marshals got to the car very quickly and got me out – they did a great job, as did the entire medical team. It’s a testament to West Surrey Racing and the NGTC rules in the BTCC that these cars are very very safe.

“I’m absolutely ready to get back in the car and I’d race tomorrow if I could but I’m not sure the car will be. If any team can get the car ready for Brands Hatch then it’s WSR but it’ll take a monumental effort from everyone. I’m 100% a team player and I want to be out there to try and help Colin and the team win all four championships.”

Bennetts keeping a clear head

West Surrey Racing Team Principal Dick Bennetts was relieved that Collard was unhurt in the accident, as attention now turns to rebuilding the driver’s car in time to race at Brands Hatch.

An eventful day for the outfit saw Collard withdrawn from the weekend early after his race two hit, with the team facing an uphill struggle to get the car in shape for next weekend’s season finale, but Turkington was able to nudge closer to a second title in the series, having won his first with the team in 2009.

Speaking to TouringCars.Net at the end of the weekend, Bennetts confirmed that Collard had been released from hospital, but like Collard, couldn’t confirm if the car would be out at Brands Hatch.

“Rob’s okay, I’ve just had a text from him and he’s been released from hospital,” Bennetts said on Sunday evening. “He’s got a bit of a sore head and aches and pains but he’s okay.

“We don’t know [how long the rebuild will take]. Rob will need a medical clearance check but the car is not in good shape at all. It’s the worst we’ve had so we’re going to fully strip the car and that’ll be done by Tuesday night but I couldn’t give you an accurate update at the moment.”

And with the day’s events in mind – as well as an inter-team collision at Brands Hatch last year – the New Zealander insisted that his team would be taking no chances at Brands Hatch as Turkington looks to seal the championship title.

“You’ve only got to have a race one accident – like Rob had there – and the car could be done for the day. It’s looking good but I’ve been around for too long to take it [Turkington’s lead] for granted.”


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