Rob takes the positives from a frustrating weekend at Brands Hatch
Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship took place at a foggy Brands Hatch circuit in Kent.
Rob reflected on his debut in the #9 Power Maxed Racing Astra, saying: “We were hoping for a lot more but many things didn’t go our way. The cars have shown really good pace though so we absolutely take the positives from that. Now we’ll regroup before Donington Park, where we know we’ve had a very successful test, and put in some good laps.”
Saturday – FP1, FP2 and Qualifying Free Practice sessions on Saturday morning were held in dry conditions. Rob used those to experiment with set up in the front wheel drive car, testing various options.
Qualifying saw wet and increasingly cold conditions, punctuated with several red flags as all the drivers sought to find the limit of the new and improved Dunlop wet tyre. Rob was hampered by traffic before a red flag halted the session. By the restart, the track had started to lose its edge and with times not improving he remained a frustrating P16.
Sunday – Race Day – Rounds 1, 2 and 3 Race day was damp and foggy and the cars lined up to start in damp conditions with both Rob and Jason Plato gambling on the wet tyre choice along with half the grid. The slick tyre choice proved the one to be on as track conditions dried lap-by-lap. Rob continued battling on wets in P18 and ultimately finished in 21st place, with Jason cut adrift in 25th.
For Race 2 the track had dried, and all cars started on slick tyres. The two PMR Astras were on the new compound Soft tyre, hoping to exploit the chilly conditions to move forward. The reality was a little different, as the softer tyre didn’t work so well in the conditions, and both cars struggled to make progress, joined by Turkington, Oliphant, Smiley, Cammish and Tordoff. At the end of 24 hectic laps Rob crossed the line in 22nd.
Race 3 was cut short for Rob as he was side-swiped by an out of control Broadley mid-way through Paddock Hill bend. Damage to the right-rear necessitated a pit stop for repairs. His race effectively over, Rob re-joined to use the track-time as a test session and showed good pace for the remained of the session.
Coming away from a very promising but ultimately frustrating Brands Hatch Indy circuit, Rob looks forward to Donington Park in three-weeks-time in a positive frame of mind.
Rob Collard – Car #9 Race 1. Grid 16. Result P21. Race 2. Grid 21. Result P22. Race 3. Grid 22. Result DNF Championship position. P23.