Bittersweet weekend for Team JCT600 with GardX pair
Team JCT600 with GardX maintained its lead in the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with Rob Collard battling to a race three podium at Snetterton on his way to nipping ahead of stablemate Sam Tordoff at the summit of the Drivers’ standings.
Hampshireman Collard’s fourth rostrum finish of the year moved him three points clear of Tordoff, though their overall haul across the weekend was enough to ensure the outfit remained on top of the Teams’ Championship.
In a thrilling final race of the day that went right down to the final lap, Collard made a trademark flier off the line to rocket from fifth to third. By the time the field was midway through the second tour, Collard had dispatched Jason Plato’s Subaru Levorg.
The 125i M Sport then scampered off into a 2.5 second lead, which began to ebb away in the final few laps. Midway through the last lap, a charging Gordon Shedden, homed right onto the rear of the BMW, making a move stick at Agostini and demoting Collard to P2.
He’d showed promise earlier in the day too, as, in typical style, he carved through the pack superbly from 16th to fourth in race two, setting a new lap record in the process.
Tordoff, meanwhile, notched seventh and eighth in races two and three with maximum ballast in the former. Disappointment came in the day’s third encounter, though, as his BMW was forced into the pits and retirement after slowing with a propshaft issue on the green flag lap.
He’d been drawn as the reverse grid polesitter and with his team-mate’s second placed finish – the timing could scarcely have been any worse.
Ahead of Snetterton, Collard was hoping to get a traditional bogey circuit out of the way with points finishes the aim. Defying all of his own expectations, he’s atop the standings and well placed.
“If you’d told me after qualifying 18th that I’d be leading the championship at the end of today, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Collard.
“The BMW has been fast and consistent all day and as soon as the ballast came out at the end of race one, I was able to make a lot of progress and come all the way from 16th to fourth in race two.
“It’s a bit unfortunate not to win race three having led it for so long, but Gordon Shedden put a move on me that I wasn’t expecting and I just couldn’t defend it.
“After qualifying I wasn’t expecting anything. Race one didn’t go to plan either and I thought the day was over.
“To come back from that and be leading the championship is just absolutely amazing.
“Congratulations to my team, they keep driving me on and backing me. I’m here to please the crowd too and us guys are nothing without them. What a crowd it was, so thanks to all of them.”
Tickets are still available for Knockhill circuit (13/14 August), the BTCC’s only venture north of the border. Prices start at just £37 for adult weekend tickets with discounts available for family bookings with children under 12 able to enter free of charge. For more information and to order tickets head to knockhill.co.uk or call 01383 723337.