Ben Collins a.k.a. The Stig endured a nightmare weekend as he made his British Touring Car Championship debut last weekend at the final round of the 2010 championship at the Kent circuit of Brands Hatch.
After suffering a reoccurring gearbox cooling issue that forced him to set out most of practice and saw him turn no laps in qualifying the team worked hard over night to strip down the gearbox and totally rebuild in in a bid to get the Bristol-born driver out on track for race day.
The first race saw Collins impress after starting from last on the grid he moved through that back of the field with ease, by the end of the race he had made up 10 places and would finish fourteenth.
After the first race he explained: “My lack of experience with the cars gearbox caused me a few problems today, which I suppose I could have expected seeing as the first race was my first opportunity to test it. It was a very quick learning curve today, and I needed to make a few changes to get the car set-up just right, the stuff I should have done during qualifying.”
The second race would see him finish in twelfth place and take his first two independent championship points.
The third and final race of the day saw Collins running on pace with the drivers at the sharp end of the field before selecting the wrong gear entering Paddock Hill Bend marked the end of his debut in the gravel trap.
“With the changes made the car felt great, and it was my error popping it into 2nd instead of 4th that put me off.” admitted Collins.
Despite the tough weekend he still enjoyed himself: “I loved the experience though and working with Airwaves BMW and I'd love to be back next year.”
Airwaves BMW Team Manager Oliver Collins summed up his view of the weekend for the former Stig: “I feel for Ben who was up against it today and gave a great showing. He was well on the pace by race three and I feel sure he would have had a stronger points finish had the car been set-up before race one.”