Rob Collard admitted a loss of balance in the BMW 125i M-Sport was the causality of a disappointing qualifying session at Snetterton this afternoon, with the WSR stalwart managing to line up just 18th, some 1.125 seconds behind pole-sitter and defending champion, Gordon Shedden.
Shedden clocked a fastest time of 1:55.627, breaking the lap record for qualifying around the 2.99 Norfolk venue and in doing so secured the first pole position in three years for Halfords Yuasa Racing.
He will share the front row with Silverline Subaru BMR Racing’s Colin Turkington, with recent CTCC winner Adam Morgan, Tom Ingram and Mat Jackson all rounding out the top five ahead of race one tomorrow.
Collard, who currently sits second in this years title hunt, twelve points adrift of Team JCT600 with GardX team-mate Sam Tordoff, took the decision alongside the WSR engineers to make alterations to the balance of his car after the second free practice session, whilst Tordoff and the third BMW of Jack Goff also struggled in 10th and 15th respectively.
The end result was a step backwards in terms of setup, and despite nothing being wrong mechanically with the potent rear-wheel drive machinery, Collard found himself unable to compete with the usual suspects at the sharp end of the field.
“We lost all balance in the car,” he said.
“We changed things significantly for qualifying and it didn’t work out, so I’m absolutely devastated at the moment,”
“The mechanical part of the car is fine and between me and the engineer we decided to go this way with the car and it didn’t work. I’ll have him in a headlock later on!”
With 68 kilograms of success ballast on board, the outcome of the opening race at Snetterton tomorrow looks difficult for the 47-year old Hampshire racer, but a loss of weight prior to race two could allow him to utilize the car’s significant performance and secure two strong finishes in the second and third races as he looks to narrow the gap at the top of the championship.
The first contest is due to get underway at 11:32 tomorrow morning.