Despite coming up through the field to score his first British Touring Car Championship podium since the opening round at Donington Park, West Surrey Racing's Rob Collard returns from Mondello Park particularly incensed about the driving standards in the third race that very nearly forced him into retirement and left his MG ZS with 'needless damage'.

It had been a difficult weekend for Collard with a tough qualification session and a tricky first couple of races, with a high of fourth place through the changeable conditions in the second event. However, the action came to a head in the final race of the day, where few panels were left untouched in the mid-field, not least Collard who's right front door bore the brunt of James Pickford's rather close attentions.

After a superb start from seventh on the grid, Collard battled away with Jason Plato for third which resulted in his Toledo being pushed into a slide. SEAT team-mate Pickford then forced the MG onto the grass at the next corner pushing him outside the top ten.

Indeed, Collard was especially riled at Pickford and his team mate Jason Plato. "It was absolutely atrocious, the driving standards are terrible," Collard told Radio at Mondello. "I got hit by Plato, then by Pickford and then James Kaye. The standards need to get addressed. Like Pickford for instance, he took me off at Brands when I was in a good position and he did it again today.

"People like that don't deserve to be in the championship if they are going to drive in that way. They should be there honing their skills and getting some finishes under their belts. They are not doing their credibility any good. It's close racing and it is hard but it doesn't have to be that hard."

The panel-bashing has longer lasting effects for Collard too as he and West Surrey Racing need to conserve their minimal budget for developing the car instead of having to rectify any inflicted problems on the car. "Unfortumately WSR is a private entry and we all have to pay for the damage on the car, which is heart-breaking because it is needless."

A spirited fight back saw him finish third by the chequered flag but the bumping and barging has angered a number of the drivers, including James Pickford who hit back at Collard by claiming that his driving standards are 'awful' and that he should be 'penalised.'

With just over a week to go until the next race at Snetterton - a track renowned for some controversial clashes in the past - the heated exchanges among several of the drivers seems unlikely to cool down just yet...