In Rob Collard's second exclusive column on Crash.net for 2013, the eBay Motors driver looks back at his first outings in the new NGTC-spec BMW 125i M-Sport at Brands Hatch and Donington Park…
Last time I spoke to you was before the new BTCC season burst into life at Brands Hatch, and any of you who were there – or who were watching at home on TV – will know that it wasn't the best way for me to start my season.
The eBay Motors team had worked hard to get all three cars ready for the first round and mine was the last one to completed, so the first time I got to drive it was in the shakedown test we do before every meeting.
When we got to Brands Hatch, we knew it wouldn't be easy, but we could never have predicted that it would be so difficult. I had engine problems with my car all through race day and didn't manage to get the chequered flag and while that was hard to stomach, that is racing and sometimes it happens. The guys within the team are all seasoned campaigners and we know there are highs and lows in motorsport – we just hit a real low at Brands Hatch.
It wouldn't be a lie to say that we'd probably hit rock bottom when we left the track on Sunday night, but the team worked hard to fix the issues that there were with my car before we went to Snetterton for a test.
The test went well, although the fact that it was wet meant we weren't able to collect as much data as we'd hoped. However, we were able to learn more about the car ready for Donington Park.
I was really hoping to get my season going when we got to the circuit, but it would turn out to be another tough weekend for my side of the garage. We continued to make good progress with the car but at the start, we didn't quite have the pace. That meant I was left in the middle of the pack and there are guys there who have some of the best cars on the grid, but who don't know how to overtake and crash into you.
In two of the three races, I had to deal with contact from other drivers which meant I only came away from the weekend with a best finish of twelfth, and we could certainly have done better than that.
Colin was able to benefit from the reverse grid draw in race three and it paid dividends for him as he was at the front and on the right tyres for the conditions. He managed to break away from the chasing pack and he did a fantastic job to win.