Rob Collard was overjoyed with a change in fortune during the latest Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting at Croft, closing the gap in the title race.
The former Independent champion entered the meeting in North Yorkshire 26 points adrift of West Surrey Racing team-mate, Sam Tordoff, but left just 12 points behind after claiming his second win of the season.
Results of seventh and fourth sandwiched that triumph, Collard saying afterwards that it was important to bounce back strongly after an incident-affected Oulton Park visit.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag afterwards, Collard beamed: “Absolutely delighted with the weekend, because we were a bit down about what had happened at Oulton Park.
“We felt that we lost so many points. Then with what happened with Matt Neal in qualifying, we thought the championship might be starting to slip away from us.
“To bounce back with a race victory in race two was stunning. Race three was just as good I thought, getting P4 in the rain with 75kg – my wets were just hanging on at the end of that. Really delighted.”
Victory in race two was aided by contact between Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers, Colin Turkington and Jason Plato, their collision at Tower Bend allowing Collard to pounce a corner later.
“You know, for one of the very few times in my career, I actually hesitated”, said Collard on his attack of the tangling Levorgs.
“That’s what made it quite hairy going through the Esses, because the car wasn’t that far in front. I hesitated, but once I’d committed then I knew it was suddenly all or nothing. I kept it flat, knew I’d go through the marbles and once I got through, I knew I could do five pure qualifying laps.”
On the challenge for the title, Collard added: “We’ve got five rounds; one of them is my favourite at Knockhill and Brands Hatch GP which I really like as well. I think with the current BMW, there isn’t a bad track now because there used to be a lot of bogey circuits for us.”
The WSR man also sung praises of the team’s improving BMW 125i, explaining: “This is back to how the old 3-Series used to be. It reacts and changes, like that used to.
“I can put it where I want now, we can make changes and I can feel them. The old car in 2013/14 didn’t feel like a race car for me. Now it really does”