Now leading the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after a podium in race two at Thruxton, Rob Collard admits that he had points on his mind rather than risking an incident.
The West Surrey Racing driver finished a close second to the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST of Andrew Jordan in the second BTCC encounter at Thruxton, a result good enough to gift Collard the championship lead for the first time this season.
Five points ahead of reigning champion Gordon Shedden, it is also the first time that the BMW 125i driver has topped the standings since the Brands Hatch season opener last year, a position Collard now aims to keep in 2016.
“It could be the first time in my career that I’ve lead the overall championship [after a meeting]”, a delighted Collard told told The Checkered Flag after race two.
“I just sat there in that race going through figures in my head and then thinking “yep, I think I’ll just sit here for a second or a third”. If they hadn’t shortened the race then perhaps we might have been able to get a win, but it’s a good feeling.
“P2 again – obviously I finished P2 here in race two last season. Fingers crossed we can go on and win another.”
Although the BMW driver opted out of getting into a battle with race winner, Jordan, the championship picture has become very much the main focus of Collard’s season.
“He’s had a bit of a drought recently”, Collard praised of his Ford rival, Jordan. “I wish it was me up there, but we’re leading the championship at the moment so we’ve got to start thinking about points.
“It’s a good strong position for GardX. What we did at Donington, to get a win there and to have a second here is very positive.”
On whether a more consistent approach is key, he added: “Absolutely. We look back at last year and we were lying fifth here in race one but suffered from fuel starvation and dropped right back. Then what happened with the incidents at Oulton Park and Snetterton, the car failure at Rockingham – I lost about 40 points.
“It’s good at the moment and I’m looking forward to only getting stronger.”
Collard will start the final race of the day eighth at Thruxton, the WSR man saying: “It’s going to be a real step into the unknown with the weight, but we ran with 48kgs earlier in the day. It shouldn’t be too bad, but it’s a mystery circuit.”