Rob Collard was pleased to throw himself back into the British Touring Car Championship title fight with a victory and two further top eight finishes at Croft.
The weekend started in frustrating fashion for Collard, who clashed with Matt Neal during the thirty-minute qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. Collard moved to the outside line to give Neal, behind on a flying lap, room into Hawthorns but the Type-R tagged the right-front of the BMW, ending both drivers sessions. Neal was later given an official reprimand and two penalty points for his part in the incident by the stewards.
After recovering to seventh in race one, series stalwart Collard claimed the honors in race two after Subaru’s Colin Turkington and Jason Plato made contact for the race lead, allowing the BMW 125i M-Sport to pass on the inside line and cemented his weekends work with a fourth place in wet-weather conditions in the final contest.
The efforts of the Hampshire-based driver see him slingshot back into the frame for the Drivers championship, in which he now sits second, just 12 points adrift of Team JCT600 with GardX team-mate Sam Tordoff. Neal sits third, now three points behind Collard.
Another strong weekend for Collard and Tordoff also ensures that Team JCT600 with GardX now sit atop the HiQ Teams Championship by a healthy 52 point margin ahead of the works Honda outfit, whilst WSR retain their Manufacturers standings advantage.
Reflecting after the dust had settled around the 2.13 circuit, Collard was elated with an upturn in fortunes after a difficult fourth meeting at Oulton Park had set him back some way in the championship battle.
“What a difference a day makes. After what happened in qualifying, I was thinking ‘what do I have to do to get some luck’?” joked Collard.
“But we worked hard on our race set-up overnight and today has been fantastic.”
He was equally delighted with the weekends results, on a day he celebrated a landmark result and cemented the team’s superiority in the championship standings.
“To get a win, a fourth and a seventh is fantastic, and on a day when I’ve achieved my 50th podium in the BTCC too.”
“I’ve closed the gap to Sam in the championship, the Team JCT600 with GardX BMWs are first and second overall and leading the teams’ points, WSR head the manufacturers’/constructors’ standings and now we can go into the summer break very happy indeed.”
The series reconvenes for it’s next triple-header over the last weekend of July [30th-31st] at Snetterton, where 32 flame-spitting NGTC machines will do battle around the 300 configuration of the Norfolk venue.