Team BMW’s Rob Collard has described his first British Touring Car Championship race victory of 2018 as ‘massively important’ after enjoying a return to form at Oulton Park.

Collard posted by far and away his strongest weekend of the year so far at Oulton Park, which culminated in the West Surrey Racing driver leading a dominant BMW 1-2-3 podium lock-out in reverse grid to secure his first BTCC win in over a year.

Prior to Oulton Park, Collard found himself languishing well down the pecking order following an indifferent start to the 2018 campaign.

Having moved back in top-10 of the drivers’ standings, Collard admitted he underestimated the impact his huge 2017 Silverstone had on him.

“It’s massively important. Coming off the back of that big crash at Silverstone 2017 probably affected me a bit more than I realised,” said Collard.

“At the start of the season getting into the car, it wasn’t quite there. At Donington Park in race three we were very competitive.

“But at Thruxton it just seemed to go a bit wayward again. We’ve been strong all weekend here, in qualifying and all three races. We’re here to score points and not take too many chances and that’s what we’ve done.”

After moving from 12th to ninth in race, a clever piece of strategic acumen during the second race allowed Collard to start from the front-row in the reverse grid race, where the BMW driver was able to power ahead of Rob Austin at the start-line.

Collard said he elected to remain behind the Motorbase Performance Ford of James Cole and settle for sixth in a bid to maximise his position for the reserve grid draw. It was a gamble that paid off.

“In race two, I was sitting behind Cole and I thought ‘I’ll just sit here’,” Collard continued.

“That was a calculated gamble I took with the reverse grid and it really paid off. We’re trying to think about it these days, rather than going out and trying to overtake every car in front me.”

Incidentally, Collard also led BMW’s last 1-2-3 result back in Croft 2015, ahead of Andy Priaulx and Sam Tordoff.

“That’s twice I’ve led a BMW 1-2-3 now. Croft 2015 was very special and it’s good to have that again here. If you’d have asked that a week ago, I’d have definitely said no. But it was quite a comfortable 1-2-3 for us.”

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