BTCC 2010 Preview: West Surrey Racing – BMW 320si E90

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#6 Rob Collard – #44 Andy Neate

WSR have suffered a hard start to the 2010 season, with the loss of RAC title backing and then their Champion driver, due to a lack of funds. Add in the loss of their other driver to the Porsche Carrera Cup, the team have an uphill task to replicate their 2009 season.

Those hired by Dick Bennetts to replace Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley are former Airwaves BMW and WSR driver Rob Collard and the miracle man Andy Neate.

Collard took his first BTCC wins with WSR while they ran the ex works MGZS, wins which nobody in the series would have begrudged the popular Hampshire racer.

Collard also took his former team, Airwaves BMW, first win in the BTCC during the opening round of the 2009 season at Brands Hatch, before taking the first BMW win at Donington Park since 1993, when Joachim Winkelhock claimed victory.

For Neate, the WSR drive completes an incredible 18 months. At the start of the Silverstone Britcar race in 2008, Neate was involved in a horrific start line accident, which left him with serious, life threatening injuries.

When Neate was confirmed at WSR, he said: “I did say I wouldn't race again but the BTCC is all I've ever wanted to be in since I started out. To me it's the best race series in the world. The person I really needed to ask permission from was Sarah and after visiting the doctors for assessments she said 'go for it'.”

WSR look like a weaker outfit without Turkington in their ranks, but with the story of Neate, this could prove to be a perfect pick up.

Season Prediction:

Season of struggle could lie ahead without their Champion, Collard is a solid racer who will bring some positive results, but enough for a title challenge? Not so sure. For Neate, a podium finish will be a success for a racer who is just glad to have a chance.

TCF Driver Predictions:

Collard: Will get a win or 2 but won't be consistent enough to go for overall honours. 8th.

Neate: A podium will be like a win for Neate, will score points. Could take a year to get full race fitness back. 13th.

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