Rob Collard closes a strong season sixth in the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
West Surrey Racing completed the frantic rebuild of Rob’s eBay Motors BMW ahead of the weekend’s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season finale at Brands Hatch.
In what was a challenging weekend from the off Rob was undeterred and set about making up for lost ground with a superb drive in the first two races, leaving the Kent circuit lying sixth in the 2014 Driver Standings with eBay Motors securing the Teams’ Championship.
He started on the back foot after an engine misfire hampered him during free practice. Despite the team working hard to find the root cause Rob headed into qualifying knowing that he was down on power. At the end of the 30 minute session he could do no more than a 23rd place starting position, lining up on the 12th row of the grid for the first of Sunday’s three races.
In the 18-lap first race, Rob made a great start off the line and managed to avoid a huge multi-car accident and drove superbly making his way through the pack. By the time, the flag fell Rob had made up an impressive 17 places. He crossed the line in sixth position to amass five championship points.
Starting from his finishing position in the previous race for the second event of the weekend, Rob made another brilliant start in what can only be described as a ‘dramatic race’. Rob demonstrated tenacity and talent to lead for most of the race, skillfully holding off the closing pack, until his soft compound tyres began to drop in performance, and gradually he fell down the field, crossing the line in fourth position. Rob was subsequently promoted to third place after Jason Plato received a post race penalty following an incident at the start of the race, which denied Rob’s team-mate Colin Turkington a points scoring finish.
In treacherous conditions for Sunday’s final race Rob started from seventh. Unfortunately, just four laps in he was forced to retire the No.10 eBay Motors BMW after a spin and subsequent contact caused damage to the car. Despite limping back into the pit lane the team were unable to repair the car bringing an early end to the final race of the year.
Said Rob; “ The first two races here at Brands Hatch was fantastic. It was just a shame that we could not finish the final race of the year after all the hard work and effort. the team has made to get me here. You always want the last race of the season to be a good one so to be sidelined after a spin is not ideal. It was no ones fault, just one of those racing incidents. It’s always close competitive racing here in the BTCC so these things happen. I have had a great season and ended the year sixth in the championship, so I am really happy with that. I am delighted for eBay Motors and Colin (Turkington) taking the teams’ and drivers’ titles. I’ve said it before, this is a great team and the BMW has been a joy to race. I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m now looking forward to a well earned break, and then I will refocus my plans for 2015.”