West Surrey Racing's Rob Collard is bullish over his chances of collecting a strong haul of points at Donington Park but expects a 'pushy' opening British Touring Car race.

Collard emerged from a dramatic qualifying as the quickest BMW runner in sixth position, beating both Jack Goff and Sam Tordoff, who qualified eighth and 21st respectively.

The WSR driver felt a higher qualifying result was within reach but was left to rue a late red flag, which dropped Collard from second to sixth.

"I think we're in very good shape. I was very happy to be the first RWD car in qualifying. I was a little bit disappointed with P6 having been P2 before the final reset. That allowed everyone else to come in and put slick tyres on when I was the first to make that call," Collard told Crash.net.

"It very nearly paid off for me but that's just how the cookie crumbles. I'm still really pleased to be P6 for the team and we should hopefully be able to pick off a couple of cars by turn one."

With the exception of Honda's Gordon Shedden in fourth, the top-six all carry a similar amount of performance ballast but Collard expects the leading MG's and Mat Jackson to be difficult to overhaul.

"Shedden is carrying a fair amount of ballast but the MG's are going to be quick and so will Jackson. It's going to be quite a punchy first race. I hope we can all be quite sensible and bring the cars home with good points," Collard continued.

"I excel when there's a bit of uncertainty. That's why I'm strong on the first lap. When people are still finding their feet, I'm very positive. It's the same when the conditions get tricky. I've got the confidence and the experience to push. That's when I'm at my best."

Nevertheless, Collard - who featured at the front during last year's third race around the former Grand Prix venue - feels the 2016-spec BMW 125i M Sport will prove to be a more potent force, citing both gains with the chassis and also straight-line speed.

"I think we've genuinely got such a good car this season. It's a big step up from where we were this time last year," said Collard.

"I actually led race three here last season but we didn't have the straight-line. This year we're much closer in the speed traps. We're still not quite the fastest but we're still very strong. With the chassis working as well as what it is, that's why we're very strong.
We've really got to bag as many points as possible."



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