In Rob Collard's latest exclusive column on Crash.net for 2013, the eBay Motors driver reflects on his season to date in the new NGTC-spec BMW 125i M-Sport…
Sorry it's been a while, but as I'm sure you know, it's been a pretty hectic first half of the season for me and the eBay Motors team as we've been coming to grips with our new NGTC-spec BMW.
The last time I spoke to you was after Donington Park, which seems like a long time ago now! We were just getting ready to head to Thruxton for my home event, where I was hoping to be able to challenge towards the front of the field.
Sadly, it turned out to be a really tough weekend for me, Colin and Nick – probably more difficult that we expected it to be.
To be fair, Thruxton has never been a circuit where the BMW has been the fastest over a single lap, but it has always benefitted from good race pace. This time however, we struggled to get the right balance in the car and also struggled with the set-up on the harder compound tyre that we have to use because the circuit is so abrasive.
A turbo issue on my car put me on the back-foot through qualifying and left me with work to do on race day, and although I scored points in each of the three races, it wasn't the kind of weekend I'd been hoping for. A large part of it was just down to time with the car, and I have no doubt that if we headed back to Thruxton next week to do it all again, we'd put in a much stronger performance with the extra knowledge we now have.
Oulton Park was next, and again I had a bit of work to do after qualifying 16th. The first race went pretty well and I finished tenth, but race two was most definitely one to forget.
Usually I'm one of the best starters on the grid, but this time around, I think I had my worst start for about five years and got swamped by the field. I was making up places and managed to get back ahead of Nick when he missed his braking into the hairpin and we collided.
I had to pit with damage to my car which was a massive blow, but I don't hold anything against Nick for what happened; it was just one of those things. He made a mistake and unfortunately, I was in the wrong place.