Rob Collard has been released from hospital following his accident in the final HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Snetterton.
The Airwaves BMW driver was taken to hospital in Norwich for checks after the incident, which saw him spin off after contact with James Nash exiting the Esses. Collard's car came to rest on the track at the Bombhole, where it was struck at speed by an unsighted Stephen Jelley.
Although Collard was able to walk away from the car, he then complained of pains in his abdomen and was taken to hospital before being released shortly before midnight and driven home by team boss David Bartrum.
Collard has been given a clean bill of health but is suffering from extensive internal bruising.
“I would sincerely like to thank the medical team at Snetterton who did a sterling job of looking after me following the incident and also the staff at Norwich and Norfolk hospital who were also first class,” he said. “When I got out of the car I was a bit sore but the adrenaline was getting me through. It wasn't until I sat down in the medical centre that it really hit me and the pain was unbelievable. Thankfully I was really well looked after by all the medics and I think they checked absolutely every inch of me to make sure there was no major damage.”
Collard added that he was disappointed in the way the incident had occurred and said he would work hard to ensure his fitness for the next round of the season at Knockhill, with the team beginning work on repairing the heavily damaged BMW before the trip to Scotland.
“It was a disappointing way to end the day as the car was outstanding over the first five or six laps in race three and I was building up a comfortable lead,” Collard admitted. “Then I saw oil on the track, which I thankfully managed to avoid, and the safety car came out and let the rest of them catch up with me. When the safety car went off I just tried to hold the lead and there was parts of the circuit where James Nash behind me was faster and others where I had the advantage, it was a bit of cat-and-mouse. He actually hit me quite a few times as we went round and I was just defending the racing line when I got fired off. I tried to save it, which I had done in a similar incident in race one, but I had too much momentum and I came back into the pack. I saw Matt [Neal] just miss me but I didn't even see Stephen [Jelley] coming before he hit me.
“If that hadn't happened I think I would've gone on to win the race, or at the very least take a podium place. James Nash is a fast young guy but I think his inexperience showed and he should've waited for better opportunity to pass instead of trying to force it. I don't think more experienced drivers like Colin Turkington
or Fabrizio Giovanardi, who were directly behind him, would have tried a move like that. In the end it's ruined his race and mine, and ended my champions hip hopes.
“Hopefully the team will be able to get my car back into shape in time for Knockhill and I will do everything I can to be fit for it.”