Collard makes it five from five
Rob Collard became the fifth different winner from the opening five races of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after making a late move for victory in the second contest at Donington Park.
BMW joins Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and Ford in the BTCC winners circle so far this season, but that possibility looked some way off with West Surrey Racing’s Collard starting from sixth on the grid.
The Team JCT600 with GardX driver blasted up to third on the first lap, but he had to wait until lap 12 to make further ground as Tom Ingram defended valiantly. Collard passed the Toyota Avensis with a tidy move at the final chicane and he immediately set about hunting down Mat Jackson’s Ford Focus, which had led from the start.
Collard eventually hauled in the ballast-laden Focus and the two cars ran side-by-side on the exit of Coppice in the closing stage, with Jackson having to concede going into the Esses.
“I had to work hard for that in the opening laps,” enthused Collard after the contest. “The key was the first lap when I made the jump from sixth up to Tom (Ingram) in third. It all paid of. Once we were in third, it was game on with Mat Jackson starting to struggle a bit as the race headed towards the finish.
“The car is feeling so sharp at the moment it was really good – I’m really pleased with it. We’ve stuck with the BMW and it’s the best it’s been since the 3 Series days. We left Brands with a bit of a cloud after race two and I’m pleased we were able to come here and prove to everyone we’re winners. There were some good moves in there and I’m proud I can still perform like that.”
Race one winner held on to take second while a sensational scrap ensued behind him for the final podium position.
“Rob (Collard) was coming through,” reflected Jackson. “The BMW was on fire off the corners and I just couldn’t live with him. It would have been daft to hold him back really. The ballast, especially on the front wheel drive, isn’t good and we just had to manage it really and be pragmatic – it’s a long championship.”
Four cars almost ran alongside eachother at one stage in the aforementioned scrap for third, as Sam Tordoff’s BMW bounced across the gravel, before his WSR team-mate Jack Goff tapped Ingram’s Toyota on the exit of the chicane. Tordoff lost out slightly while Ingram dropped way down the order, and when the dust finally settled it was Aron Smith who snatched third for BKR.
“It’s a good, I’m really happy,” said Aron. “It was a hard one though. I earned that more than I did the podium at Brands. The racing was good and everyone was clean and fair.
“I was in the right place at the right time at the chicane when a couple came together down there, it was a bit of luck. It was a race where I could have ended up in the barrier a couple of times on a different day but I didn’t.”
Honda’s Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal sandwiched Goff’s BMW in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, whilst Josh Cook scored some valuable points MG with seventh, despite both him and team-mate Ashley Sutton again being shuffled down the order.
Tordoff took eighth but will have been consoled following the race as his number was picked at random in the reverse grid draw, meaning he will start today’s final encounter from pole position. Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat got the better of Rob Austin’s Toyota and the sister Mercedes of Adam Morgan to grab ninth.
2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 5 – Donington Park
1 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX 25m 07.394s
2 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +1.670
3 Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +3.307
4 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +3.429s
5 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +4.939s
6 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +5.547s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +9.967s
8 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +10.311s
9 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +11.124s
10 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +11.378s
11 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +12.609s
12 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +13.358s
13 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +20.040s
14 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +20.315s
15 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +20.433s
16 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +20.856s
17 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +24.166s
18 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +25.205s
19 Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing+25.739s
20 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +26.730s
21 Chris SMILEY (GBR) TLC Racing +27.223s
22 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +31.188s
23 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +37.866s
24 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +38.505s
25 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +40.159s
26 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing DNF
27 Daniel WELCH (GBR) Goodstone Racing DNF
28 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing DNF
29 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com DNF
30 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing DNF
31 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing DNS