Reigning BTCC Independents championship winning team West Surrey Racing has confirmed its return to the series for 2005, with Rob Collard set to lead the team in its quest to retain the title.

Collard, himself a previous winner of the Indy title, will drive the Judd powered MG ZS which proved to be one of the quickest cars on the grid last season at the hands of Anthony Reid and Colin Turkington - winning a number of races and setting countless fastest laps as Reid also secured a strong finish in the overall standings.

The car will feature a number of new developments for the 2005 season, with the team aiming to get quickly up to speed with the car having not run since competing in the final two races of the DMSB Championship over in Germany in October.

Having run in his own team for a number of seasons, Collard is understandably thrilled at the chance to drive for a race winning, and potentially championship winning, outfit.

"It's really great to be driving for such a professional team like WSR. My first priority is to regain the Independents' Trophy, but I'll also be driving a car that gives me the opportunity of winning races outright."

Team principal Dick Bennetts was equally delighted to welcome Collard to the team and confirmed that the team was working to ensure a two car entry onto the grid.

"We are delighted to have secured Rob's services as we believe that in the right environment he's a winner," he said. "At present we don't have enough sponsorship to do the complete championship, but we're confident that between us we'll generate sufficient funds to do the entire season."

"We're in negotiations with several drivers for the second seat and aim to be racing as soon as funding is finalised."

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