Rob Collard collected two strong points finishes for Airwaves BMW on what proved to be a difficult weekend for the Motorbase-run team in the second weekend of the 2009 HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton.
Collard, who took the team's maiden BTCC win during the opening rounds of the year at Brands Hatch, had looked set to finish inside the top ten in race one before he was involved in an incident with Stephen Jelley at the chicane in the closing laps, with contact between the two resulting in Collard spinning off and dropping to the rear of the field.
However, in the second race, Collard showed the potential of the BMW around the quickest circuit on the calendar as he stormed through the field to take fifth, battling ahead of James Thompson and Jason Plato with one stunning move on the final lap.
Collard then repeated his result in the final race after a long battle with Plato and Matt Neal and he said he was pleased to have picked up valuable points from the weekend
“If you'd asked me after qualifying if I would take two fifth place finishes here then I'd have taken that,” he said. “I started really well all day and the car was very good in races two and three. I'm a little bit frustrated though because I think I could have nicked a podium in race three.
“If the safety car hadn't come out when it did I reckon I could have got past James [Thompson] and pushed on, but the long yellow flag period saved his tyres just enough. There were four or five really top drivers out there all battling for position in race three and I really enjoyed it, it was very good racing for us and the fans.
“It was good to pick up more championship points and I'm looking forward to getting back on the podium trail at the next round.”
After his stunning debut at Brands Hatch, the Thruxton weekend turned out to be more difficult for Collard's rookie team-mate Johnny Adam as he proved to be unable to break into the points, with a best finish of eleventh coming in the second race.
“That was a hugely frustrating weekend of racing for me,” he said. “I just never felt really comfortable with the setup of the car in any of the races and couldn't really take the fight to the guys around me. It was a learning experience though and you have to take the rough with the smooth.
“Once we have sat down and tried to get to the bottom of why we weren't quite putting it together here at Thruxton then we can put it behind us and set our sights on returning to the front of the field at the next race.”