Rob Collard says race three podium shows he’s “not too old”

Rob Collard says race three podium shows he’s “not too old”

Photo: PSP Images

Power Maxed Racing’s Rob Collard believes his podium in race three of the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park shows he is still capable and isn’t “too old” to be successful.

Collard was forced to sit out the majority of the second half of 2018 after sustaining a heavy concussion in a major crash at Snetterton, but returns for a full season in a Vauxhall Astra.

With a top ten in the opening race at the Leicestershire circuit, Collard then impressed on the slower hard tyre in race two, coming home seventh at the flag and setting up nicely for race three as one of few runners in the top ten on the favourable softer rubber.

The 50-year-old admitted this almost “guaranteed a podium,” but believes the pace he displayed showed people who had “written him off” over the off-season.

“To get that position in race two in seventh with the hard tyre on was a really good result,” said Collard.

“In race three you just knew with the way the tyres had worked out, we were guaranteed a podium really – it was just whether it was first, second or third.

“We battled hard at the start and got my head down. I thought I was going to be able to catch Ingram at the end, I was catching him but just ran out of laps.

“I think we had the quickest car with the fastest lap in the race, but I’m just pleased to say I haven’t lost it and I’m not too old! All those people who wrote me off over the winter, I’m back with a bang.”

It marks Collard’s first silverware since his win in race three at Oulton Park last year, where he headed a WSR 1-2-3 in the final contest.

He felt he had the pace to catch race winner Tom Ingram in the closing stages, but “ran out of laps” to challenge new Corolla, which secured its first series win.

“I was catching him [Ingram] and towards the end he was under a bit of pressure because he started making – I wouldn’t say mistakes – but you could see where I was catching him quite a bit,” Collard said.

“We just ran out of laps, but it’s a cracking win for him and for Toyota. And it’s a nice podium for Power Maxed and my first one in front-wheel drive for a few years!”

With the podium the highlight of a consistent day, Collard noted that he and team-mate Jason Plato feel they “turned a corner” in understanding the car at the Thruxton test between the Brands Hatch and Donington rounds.

“I think Jason [Plato] and myself have been working really hard and we’re now just starting to understand the car and the team, working really well with the engineers,” explained Collard.

“It is a cracking package, you only have to look at what they achieved last year.

“I think we turned a corner at Thruxton in the test, and again here. We’ve been playing with the car and just fettling it, because it’s a good product.

“We’ve got a good setup, and I think when we go back to Thruxton we should be even stronger hopefully.

“So I’m looking forward to Thruxton – it’s my home race.”

Collard’s home round at Thruxton will take place on the weekend of the 18-19 May on the fast and flowing Hampshire circuit.