Rob Collard has secured his second win of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season following a dominant performance in the final race of the weekend at Donington Park.
On a wet but drying circuit, the Airwaves BMW man made his customary flying start to head the field into Redgate for the first time and was never headed as he pulled out a huge advantage during the early stages and was then able to control the race from the front for a second win for David Bartrum's Motorbase-run outfit.
Three drivers elected to gamble on a mix of slick and wet tyres for the race, but one of them – Adam Jones – saw his chances end on the opening lap when he was tipped into a spin at the first corner and retired. James Thompson in the Team Dynamics Honda Civic and Paul O'Neill in the sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra also elected to gamble.
While Collard was able to drive off into the distance, building a lead of more than three seconds on the opening lap alone, battles raged in the field behind. Johnny Adam in the second Airwaves BMW battled his way to second at the start but poleman Harry Vaulkhard then dived down the inside to take the place at Coppice. However, Adam then got a run out of the corner and was back into second by the end of the lap.
The Scot's run wouldn't last for long however, as he suffered a spin coming out of Redgate and dropped down the order, while Mat Jackson behind was forced to take to the grass in avoidance.
After the opening skirmishes, Collard lead from Vaulkhard and Plato, with Fabrizio Giovanardi and Matt Neal in fourth and fifth. Jackson meanwhile had slipped to eighth while both Thompson and O'Neill were well outside the top ten and unable to match the pace of the front-runners.
On the third lap, Giovanardi took third from Plato at McLeans and within two laps, had moved into second place ahead of Vaulkhard. Jackson meanwhile was making up places and battled ahead of Dave Pinkney and Colin Turkington to go sixth. On lap seven, the 2008 series runner-up was fifth after going past Neal at Redgate, with Turkington also following past the Vauxhall.
After a few laps of close battles between the chasing pack, there was drama on lap 13, as Vaulkhard and Giovanardi made contact exiting McLeans. The Italian was tipped into a spin while Vaulkhard was delayed, and both Plato and Turkington were able to get ahead, with Turkington also then passing Plato before the end of the lap to go second.
On lap 14, Jackson got ahead of Vaulkhard into fourth while Giovanardi also got ahead of the Tempus Sport man on the following lap to take fifth. After a promising start, the race would ultimately end in disappointment for Vaulkhard as he was then outdragged to the line on the final lap but Thompson, who found himself lapping much quicker than anyone else by the end of the race and stormed through the field to add a sixth place to his earlier wins.
Neal, Tom Chilton and Dave Pinkney completed the top ten – with Chilton scoring the first top ten finish for Team Aon and the new Ford Focus ST in the process.
To view the result, CLICK HERE