Collard's title hopes dashed by conditions at Brands Hatch
Rob Collard endured a tough end to the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season after the weather conspired against his bid to secure Independents’ honours at Brands Hatch.
The HM Plant sponsored driver went into the season finale at the Kent circuit looking to secure silverware for both himself and the eBay Motors team.
However, torrential conditions undermined the challenge of the Hampshireman, whose rear-wheel drive S2000 BMW 320si struggled to compete with the higher grip levels of the new NGTC cars running wider tyres.
After qualifying in fourth position on the grid for the opening race Collard retained his place on the opening lap, having briefly managed to get ahead of Independents’ title rival Jordan. As the race wore on however, he lost places to Gordon Shedden and Aron Smith before being embroiled in a frantic battle for sixth with the Vauxhall of Dave Newsham. Having swapped positions on more than one occasion, Rob eventually beat his rival to the line to take sixth by just 0.019secs.
As he looked to keep his Independents’ title hopes alive in race two it quickly became one to forget for Rob however, with contact from Gordon Shedden – who himself has been tapped by Jason Plato – tipping him into a spin at Druids on lap one. Further contact from Will Bratt, who was unable to avoid Rob’s BMW, was enough to put him out on the spot and leave his title challenge dead in the water.
Race three would prove to be just as challenging, with Rob finishing in 19th place after a spin in the early stages led to an unscheduled stop that knocked him off the lead lap. Despite that, Rob finished the season fifth overall and second in the Independents’ Trophy – making him the best-placed driver not to be using a car built to the Next Generation Touring Car regulations.
eBay Motors also ended the year second in the HiQ Teams Championship, behind only the factory Honda team, and third in the Independents Team Trophy.
Rob Collard said: “What an end to the season that was. I felt like a hero at Silverstone and thought we were walking on water, but sadly when it was wet here on race day, we sank. It’s such a frustrating end to the season when we have done so well in the other meetings and to end the year as we did is horrible, especially for the team. However, looking at the year as a whole, I’ve been the top S2000 driver in the standings and we’ve had some great results along the way. Nine out of ten race meetings have been fantastic this year, it was just the last one that wasn't, and I feel privileged to have been part of a great team effort.”
You can also get more news, pictures and videos of Rob in action at The Official Rob Collard BTCC Fan Page on Facebook.