BMW Junior driver Ricky Collard is hopeful of making further progress up the order after qualifying in 26th for his first British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham.

The 22-year old is standing in for his injured dad Rob at West Surrey Racing for the next two BTCC meetings and negotiated his first qualifying session in the series with the 26th fastest time.

Collard Jr started the day off with a 1 minute 24.845s lap in FP1 before ending qualifying within 0.5s of the fastest BMW driver, Andrew Jordan, after setting a 1 minute 23.784s lap during the 30-minute shootout.

As newcomer to the series, Collard Jr had to attack qualifying with 45 kilos of ballast, which proved a 'difficult' challenge to deal with, the Team BMW driver admitted.

"Obviously I would have liked to have hoped for more," Collard Jr told "You can see, from looking at the times, everyone who is carrying weight is finding it very difficult. I’m effectively carrying 75 kilos, which is maximum ballast.

"I’m carrying 30 kilos as a RWD runner, plus the 45 kilos of newcomer ballast. It’s just proven to be really difficult.

"Hopefully I can get the first race under my belt and then try to get inside the reverse grid from race two onwards. Hopefully my bingo numbers come in!"

Having raced in array of different machinery as a BMW Motorsport Junior driver, including his latest run at the Spa 24 Hours, Collard Jr has already described the BTCC as 'one of the hardest championships' he's competed in.

"I’ve been involved in DTM, GT3 and Blancpain, and I can honestly say this is the one of the hardest championships I’ve ever done. It’s only going to get harder as we get into the races," Collard Jr continued.

"I’m used to cars with lots of downforce. So to jump into something like the BTCC is very cool for me because it’s such a challenge. I don’t what my ability is like when I’m in something which is using mechanical grip, rather than aerodynamic grip.

"I’m excited for the race to see how I can manage it because you can follow a lot closer."

With his focus on tomorrow's three races, Collard Jr already has his sights set on progressing towards the top-12 reverse grid draw for race three.

"It’s a privilege. The whole team has been absolutely spot on this weekend. I’m really happy. The goal is to get in the reverse grid. Once the weight comes off from race one, we can then fight in race two."




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