Myles Collins suffered a disappointing start to his 2011 Ginetta Junior campaign at Brands Hatch, with a huge accident in race one the low point of a frustrating weekend for the Westbourne Motorsport driver.
With the weekend being both the drivers and the team's debut in the Ginetta Junior series, free practice on Friday and Saturday was spent trying to get their heads around the car and find the best set up for the races. This meant Myles was only able to set the twelfth fastest time in qualifying, much lower than he had hoped.
Commenting on qualifying, Collins said: “I'm disappointed with the way it went; I think it could have gone a lot better.
“The team are new to the car and the way its set up, so every session we're out, we're using different kinds of set up to see how they go and that one just didn't work out. I wouldn't say it was a waste of a session though, as this round's really for the team to get used to the car.
“In the race, hopefully I'll get a good start and stay out of trouble, cause watching some of the races on TV it can be a bit carnage, but hopefully it can be a good race.”
Unfortunately, Myles' hopes of staying out of trouble were dashed, with contact on the run to Paddock Hill Bend sending him spearing off into the barriers, decimating his Ginetta G40 and instantly ending his debut race before he was even able to reach the first corner. Fortunately Myles was able to walk away from the incident and get the all clear from the Brands medical team.
Commenting on the race, he said: “I was disappointed with how it went, but it was sort of suspected with the position I started in. Qualifying was difficult and we thought we could pull the positions back in the race, but it didn't go to plan.
“I got a good start, knocked it into third and then heard a tap from the rear right corner and then just kept on tapping, the pressure got harder and then all of a sudden I was in the barrier, bounced out and slid down Paddock with no wheels on the car. I'm fine though; the most pain I got was looking at the car when I got out of it.”
After an absolutely superb effort from the Westbourne team to repair the car, Myles was able to take to the track for race two and after overcoming a problem on the green flag lap and an early drive through penalty, he was able to go on, finish the race and pick up some valuable points.
Reflecting on the race, he commented: “I'm happy that I finished the race cause obviously that was a big crash and the car was literally totalled. The team have done a great job getting it all repaired and out for race two. We only just managed to get out and I was all strapped up, helmet on waiting while the team were still repairing it. My main aim was just to finish and try and get some points.
“On the warm up lap, just off the line I did a practice start, to check the car was fine and the throttle kept fully on. Cars were weaving in front of me and I didn't know what to do, so I just turned the ignition off and had to pull over, undo my belts, go down and undo the throttle cable, get strapped in and set off again. It was a bit of a panic.”
“I'm not sure what the drive through was for, I thought it was for my window as it was open, cause the cockpit was full of smoke and it was fuming me, but I don't really know why.
“I'm really happy I finished, cause the car was difficult to drive, especially as the steering wheel was on upside down, as the other steering wheel actually snapped inside from the impact.”
Myles was full of praise for his Westbourne team for getting him out in the race, adding: “They've done a really amazing job, so I'd like to just say thanks to them. I really didn't think I'd get out and I thought it had ruined the season with not getting any points.”
Next up for Myles is Rounds three and four of the championship at Donington Park on April 16/17 and he is looking forward to it, saying: “We've got a bit of testing to do at Donington as I've not been there before, but it should be an interesting weekend and hopefully we'll be up there with no incidents.”