Two weekends on from his frightening accident at the penultimate round at Silverstone, Rob Collard wowed the crowds as he fought for victory in the season-ending meeting at Brands Hatch, and tells TCF that he hopes to stay with the West Surrey Racing squad in 2015.
WSR and Collard bounced back from the monster shunt in question by making it to the 2.3-mile Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent with a rebuilt BMW 125i, the Knockhill race winner recovering from Saturday misfire problems and a 23rd starting spot on the grid in the mixed conditions of qualifying.
Collard then dodged the dramatic race one accident involving many midfield runners at Paddock Hill Bend to jump to ninth after lap one alone, improving to sixth spot by the flag before better was to come in the second encounter.
“I hope that I can stay with eBay Motors again for next year. That’s all I want to do.”
The BMW lead the way until lap 15, before he was shuffled behind Adam Morgan and Jason Plato after inheriting the lead when Plato eliminated eventual champion, Colin Turkington, before Mat Jackson threw away the lead he then earned. Collard admitted that the soft tyre choice had helped initially in race two, but his defence against Plato and Morgan was soon powerless although a podium was the hard-earned reward.
“To bounce back after such a bad crash at Silverstone just shows how strong this team have been in its desire to do well”, Collard told The Checkered Flag after his final weekend of the season.
“We had a nightmare in qualifying with a misfire that I couldn’t really cure, but we cured it in time then for race one and I was able to come through to P6 through all of the trouble early on.
“Then, in race two, we chose the soft tyres which in the end was not the best option because in the last few laps they just disintegrated and the pace really fell off the cliff, so we slowed down.
“But in the end, we’ve learned and gained a podium. We salvaged a third place, which is brilliant news for the team on such a good day for us.”
The season unfortunately did not quite end as strongly for the WSR man, as race three was ruined by a collision with outgoing champion, Andrew Jordan.
“Race three, we touched wheels with Jordan at the start coming out on the exit of Surtees and unfortunately my car spun and I just kissed the barriers which damaged the steering of it.”
The results secured sixth place in the championship for Collard overall with almost double his points tally of 2013, and the former Independent champion heaped praise on the WSR squad afterwards having finished in the top five in 12 of the 30 races in 2014, enjoying seven visits to the podium also alongside his one win in Scotland.
“To be part of the team this year has been great”, Collard added on a season which he admitted was sensationally more enjoyable behind the wheel, admitting that the title-winning BMW 125i had become a more driver-friendly package in 2014.
“It was always a two-year plan with the new car; last year, I found it hard to drive and then we finally got there, and this year it’s just been a pleasure to drive the BMW.
“Last year we were nowhere in the championship, off the pace, but this year I’ve run at the front and it’s good to be up there back in the top five and six of the championship.”
Collard says that he is 100% fixed on continuing to race for the WSR squad for what would be an eighth year with the team, concluding: “Fingers crossed; I hope that I can stay with eBay Motors again for next year – that’s all I want to do.”