West Surrey Racing's Rob Collard admitted relinquishing the win on the final lap of the third race was a bitter pill to swallow despite emerging from Snetterton with the British Touring Car Championship point's lead.

The BMW 125i M Sport driver looked set to atone for a miserable qualifying and first race by winning the incident-packed finale, having led the race since lap two after making his way past the Subaru Levorg of Jason Plato.

But despite building up a relatively comfortable cushion, aided by BMR Plato's dogged defence of second position, Collard was ultimately powerless in keeping Honda's Gordon Shedden at bay following a breath-taking climax to the race.

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Collard struggled to maintain his cadence during the latter end of the race as his medium tyres fell victim to increasing duress, which left the BMW vulnerable to attack from the onslaught of Shedden's final lap assault.

"It's just mixed emotions. I'm devastated to lose that win to Gordon [Shedden]. Nothing wrong with what he did. My tyres were going off massively towards the end of the race," said Collard.

"I just couldn't slow down and get the car stopped. But looking at it from the other side of the coin, to be second is brilliant. Unfortunately Sam [Tordoff] had a mechanical issue which he couldn't do the race so I had already worked out I could lead the championship."

Apart from his fourth place finish in race two, the thick end of Collard's weekend had been a disaster but the 47-year old, who now leads the championship ahead of his WSR team mate Sam Tordoff, said his BMW had been 'transformed' in race three.

"I was 18th in qualifying and 16th in race one so I had to go and have serious talk with myself. I had to get myself sorted because I really was ready to go home," Collard continued'

"A few changes on the suspension, different tyres and taking the weight out really transformed the car. To come away from here leading the championship at what I call a 'bogey circuit' for me, is unbelievable.

"I never had it in my wildest dreams to come away from Snetterton and be leading the championship. I really didn't. It's always been a bogey circuit for me and then qualifying went bad so I thought I'd be lucky to come away fifth in the championship."