18 July 2013
eBay Motors driver Rob Collard brings us up to speed on his 2013 campaign with a look back at rounds three, four and five of the BTCC season in his latest Crash.net column
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.
Nick and I aren't just team-mates, we are also friends away from the circuit and travel to and from the races together. That could have made the drive home awkward, but by the time we got in the car to leave the circuit, it was all forgotten. He was genuinely sorry for what happened and you could tell he wasn't simply giving an empty apology because he felt he had to.
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