Collard Dominates Through The Chaos

Rob Collard has claimed victory in Round 19 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at the picturesque Knockhill circuit after a chaotic race.

The eBay Motors BMW team had even more to celebrate as Tom Onslow-Cole followed Collard to the line to finish in second place. Gordon Shedden capped an impressive race by claiming third place, stealing the position on the line from Aron Smith.

Knockhill, the track described by so many as ‘driving in your living room’ didn’t take long to deliver the action as Rob Collard launched his BMW off the line to get the jump on pole sitter Jason Plato who then fell into the clutches of Aron Smith and Tom Onslow-Cole. Going into lap two the pace of Smiths Redstone Racing Ford Focus was far greater than that of Plato and as the cars ran through the John R Weir chicane the Irishman made his move on the 888 driver. Plato held the inside line running up to Clarke however Smith attempted to run around the outside of the KX Momentum Racing driver thus prompting contact to be made spinning Plato off backwards into the gravel trap. As this happened though an opportunistic Tom Onslow-Cole took advantage and dived up the inside of Aron Smith as Plato was vacating the race track.

Further down the pack on the same lap Frank Wrathall and Andy Neate both retired from the race albeit in separate incidents, Neate’s retirement compounding a tough start to the day for the 888 outfit by losing both of their cars. Before the safety car made its appearance there was still time for Dan Welch to send Jeff Smith for a spin as they exited the hairpin. Once the racing got underway after a long safety car period all eyes were on the battle for third place as Smith, Shedden and the returning Paul O’Neill battled for the final podium place.

A defence drive from Smith started to cause a train of cars behind with Paul O’Neill looking to force the issue at the hairpin by sending the Redstone Focus into a half spin. Shedden took advantage a few laps later sneaking into fourth and then using his local knowledge to try and find a way past Smith. It was until the last corner however that the Scotsman found his way past as a forceful move brought him alongside Smith with then a drag race up the hill with the Honda Yuasa driver just taking the place.

Behind the action Mat Jackson brought his NGTC Ford Focus to another magnificent finish in 5th place whilst Speedworks Motorsport recorded their best finish with Paul O’Neill in 6th. However it was a quiet race for championship leader Matt Neal who crossed the line in 7th seemingly struggling this weekend. Nick Foster made it all three eBay BMW’s in the top ten with a strong 8th place after a hard fought battle with Pirtek youngster Andrew Jordan who finished 9th. Rounding out the top ten was Adam Morgan in his Toyota Avensis.

The second race of the day takes place at 14:15 and can be seen on ITV4 or www.itv.com/btcc/

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hobley