Rob Collard has taken his second victory of the day at Knockhill in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship thus giving his title hopes the push they needed.
The WSR driver was followed to the finish by his team mate Tom Onslow-Cole ensuring the eBay Motors Team good fortunes continued around the Scottish highlands. Gordon Shedden completed the podium to claim the championship lead going into today’s final race.
Just as the first race of the day the BMW of Collard launched off the line to head into the first corner leading the pack with Onslow-Cole fending off the advances of Shedden. However not everyone got through the first corner as contact was made between Chris James, Dan Welch and Lea Wood. The Team ES Racing driver found himself on the grass heading into the Seat Curves and speared across the pack collecting Welch and Wood. The safety car made its one and only appearance in the race whilst the recovery of James’ Vectra took place.
Once the safety car had gone into the pits the top three of Collard, Onslow-Cole and Shedden broke away from the rest of the grid and controlled the race with ease. The battle for fourth was one of great intrigue and entertainment with Paul O’Neill showing that the pace of his Toyota Avensis was no fluke. O’Neill had followed Aron Smith’s S2000 Ford Focus for several laps until the Speedworks driver made a brilliant overtake by switching back at the hairpin and making contact with the Irishman’s car to claim fourth position. Behind Smith, Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal were battling together whilst gaining time on Mat Jackson and Nick Foster.
Foster, proving that the BMWs have serious pace at Knockhill, made a forceful move on the NGTC Focus of Mat Jackson at the hairpin which also allowed Neal and Jordan to sneak by as well. However that overtake wouldn’t be the biggest disappointment for Jackson in the race as he had to retire with a damaged exhaust. Although it can’t be determined what caused the damage to the Focus it was a worrying time for the Redstone driver who could be seen opening his door on the straights to allow fresh air into the car and clear the fumes. He was subsequently taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
A small mistake from Neal in the closing laps allowed Jordan through at Clarke as the Honda Yuasa driver ran wide into the gravel. Neal finished 8th with Jeff Smith and Dave Newsham rounding out the top ten. However Jason Plato had another poor race as the KX Momentum MG driver could only muster an 11thplace. After a fabulous weekend at Snetterton, Plato’s title challenge has taken a massive blow as he now trails behind the Team Dynamics drivers by 28 points. Shedden has taken the lead of the championship now with his team mate Matt Neal 5 points behind.
BTCC legend Hamish Irvine made the reverse grid draw and drew number ten for race three meaning that Dave Newsham will be starting from pole position. That race will start at 17:15 and can be seen either on ITV4 or www.itv.com/btcc/
Photo Credit: Michael Booth