Power Maxed Racing's Rob Collard says his season starts this weekend after qualifying in the top-ten for today's first British Touring Car Championship race at Donington Park.

Collard switched to PMR squad over the winter, with two-time champion Jason Plato, but endured a trying weekend last time out at the Brands Hatch season opener.

However, following a positive Thruxton test last week, Collard qualified his Vauxhall Astra in tenth during yesterday's qualifying session, but felt a top-five result could have been on the cards had it not been for the series of red flags during the 30-minute shootout.

"Unfortunately we made the wrong tyre choice at Brands Hatch," Collard told Crash.net. "It put us on the back foot. We weren’t competitive with the car and I didn’t feel very comfortable with the car if I’m honest.

"However, we turned a big corner at the Thruxton test and we were pretty quick there.

"Yesterday was pretty mixed conditions and we come away being P10. I’m actually slightly disappointed. I felt we had the pace in the car to be in the top five.

"It was just being unfortunate with the red flags really. We didn’t get our lap in at the start when the top four done their laps. We were on the back foot from that moment onwards."

Having driven RWD BMWs for the past eleven seasons, Collard admits readapting to FWD machinery has been a challenge but says he's now feeling more comfortable with his Vauxhall Astra.

"If I’m honest it has [been a challenge to readapt to FWD]. When I first drove the car I was actually quite quick. I think as I’ve then tried to push and squeeze that last bit out, the car has bit me a few times and we’ve had a couple of moments," Collard continued.

"After the races at Brands, the Thruxton test and yesterday, I’m getting much more comfortable with the car. When it starts to slide, I can catch it. We’re engineering the car more to what it was like last year.

"It was obviously a very fast car last year with Josh [Cook] and Senna [Proctor]. It’s just been more comfortable and I think that’s what has given us the pace yesterday."

Eyeing a top-six result during race one, Collard hopes to be in the mix for the reverse grid come race three.

"From now I feel my season starts this weekend and we can really build from it," said Collard.

"If we can get in the top-six in race one I’ll be delighted. That’s the aim. I’d like to stay around there in race two if we can. We’ve got the hard tyre for race, which isn’t probably the best choice but I wanted to get it out of the way.

"If we can then be in the reverse grid for race three, it’s game on."

 

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