Rob Collard took a comfortable second win of the season in the first BTCC race at the day at Knockhill. He was followed home by eBay Motors team mate Tom Onslow-Cole as the two BMW drivers dominated proceedings. It was another dramatic race for the championship however.
As expected, Collard used the rear-wheel drive advantage of the BMW off the line to overtake pole sitter Jason Plato into the first corner and immediately began to pull a gap. It was a surprisingly clean opening lap, yet it all kicked off on the second lap.
Frank Wrathall was the race’s first casualty as he pulled off shortly after Duffus Dip. Behind, Andy Neate was caught out and ended in the tyre barrier. It proved to be a disastrous lap for MG overall though, as Plato and Aron Smith made contact.
Contact was made on the approach to Clark which fired the MG off into the gravel. In the ensuing mayhem, Onslow-Cole slipped by Smith into second place. With three cars off, the safety car was unsurprisingly called for.
Plato was not surprisingly critical of the youngster’s driving, claiming he had taken him out the race deliberately, before criticising the TOCA boost regulations.
After a lengthy recovery period, the race restarted with both BMWs pulling away easily. Behind however, Smith began struggling for pace, and pretty soon a large bunch of cars including Paul O’Neill, Gordon Shedden, Mat Jackson, Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan and Nick Foster were formed behind him. It proved to be difficult to overtake however, with Smith’s Redstone Racing Ford proving to be particularly quick in a straight line. Behind, Shedden soon dispatched O’Neill for fourth and was soon putting pressure on the Dubliner.
The BMW pairing soon had built such a gap over the rest of the field that they could switch the cars around to gain extra points, before Onslow-Cole handed the lead back to Collard, who would take the chequered flag for the first time since Brands Hatch at the start of the year.
Mat Jackson slipped by O’Neill’s Toyota in only the second competitive outing for the NGTC Ford to improve to fifth place on the penultimate lap. Meanwhile, it looked like Smith had done enough to hold onto a debut podium finish, until Shedden gave him a tap at the last corner of the final lap. The loss of momentum from Smith allowed Shedden to out drag the Ford in a photo finish to claim third place.