Collard dazzles at Donington

BMW, BTCC, ProtectX, Donington Park, WSR Racing, Rob Collard, Colin Turkington, Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Team BMW, BMW 125i M Sport
English

Renowned charger Rob Collard put in a dazzling display to finish just shy of a podium finish for Team BMW at the latest round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park.

Collard's tenacious drive to fourth was made all the more impressive considering he started the final race of the day from 13th place and sustained considerable damage to his BMW 125i M Sport through no fault of his own in a multi-car first-lap accident.

Despite this, and once the safety car had returned to the pits, the 2016 Forever Forward Award winner used his considerable racecraft to put himself in contention for a podium finish, just missing out by 0.523s.

Having collected points for 11th and 13th places in the first two races, Rob was one of only four drivers to score in all three races at Donington; 21 in total.

Colin Turkington's race weekend was eventful, and he did well to recover to 10th in Race 1 after being spun out in the high-speed Craner Curves. But an electrical issue wiped away any hopes of capitalising on that grid position in race two.

Team BMW produced an astonishing effort to replace his engine between the second and third races in less than two hours. He started the final race from the pits, but with so little time to get the car ready he was not able to attack the points positions and finished 21st.

Rob Collard said: "Going down into the Craner Curves two cars came together and I braked to try and avoid making contact. I hit the spinning car but I was also hit from behind so hard that it creased the rear body-shell. After the safety car we managed to really crack on and fourth is a fantastic achievement after qualifying 25th yesterday. I feel a little bit frustrated we didn't quite get a podium. Our tyre strategy all weekend has been really good and to have this tyre on for Race Three was good. On this control tyre the car is mega. I would just like to have scored a few more points in the championship this weekend."

Colin Turkington said: "The guys have given 100 per cent, as ever, and changed the engine between Races Two and Three in an incredibly short space of time, but we just couldn't get a break all weekend really. Everybody gets a rough ride at some stage and this for sure is ours, we just need to move on and come out fighting at Thruxton."

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: "Rob was great today. To finish the race with that amount of damage was a strong effort. We've done quite a lot of work through the winter and if that had been last year he probably wouldn't have finished, so that has paid off. And with AJ's fifth we've got the manufacturers cup, and that is a real boost considering where we were earlier on in the day. With all the little dramas, most of which were out of our control, I think this was one of our worst weekends so I was happy to finish with a fourth and a fifth in Race Three. I am disappointed for Colin. Through no fault of his own, he had issues. The guys did a fantastic job to get the engine changed in that timescale. We have some homework to do before we go to Thruxton, but we saw pace in the car today and we will bounce back strongly."