Rob Collard admitted that a set-up mistake in qualifying for the sixth Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting of the season was the main cause for his lowly 18th place on the grid.
Lying second in the championship heading to Norfolk, the West Surrey Racing driver was hindered by a steering problem in free practice and could only muster 18th on the grid in the 30-minute qualifying session.
Disappointed by the outcome, Collard told The Checkered Flag that a set-up change ultimately backfired, saying: “I’ve cooled down a bit now but I’m very disappointed with qualifying.
“Between my engineer and myself we’ve made the car go backwards. We chose a set up that we thought would work because we were strong in FP2 but we’ve made the car worse. As a team, that was bad move on our behalf but we win as a team and lose as a team. We’ve got a very busy and tricky day tomorrow.
“We had a slight steering issue this morning. The team fixed it and that wasn’t a problem. There was no mechanical problems we just didn’t get the best set up out of the car.”
“When I put my helmet on Sunday, I’m the most determined on the grid”
12 points adrift of WSR team-mate, Sam Tordoff, Collard took optimism from the unpredictable nature of the current BTCC season.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, Collard said that he aims to unleash his overtaking prowess in the opening race on Sunday, saying: “Nothing is lost. Once we get the weight out of the car from race one, the car comes alive.”
“Anything is possible. When I put my helmet on Sunday morning I’m the most determined driver on the grid. I’ve got to make sure we don’t get hooked up in anyone else’s problems so I can hopefully get inside the top-ten for race one.
“I don’t wish anyone any bad luck but I obviously don’t want my championship protagonists closing or extending their advantage on me. I’ve just got to push hard for a top-ten in race one, top six in race two in time for the reverse grid in race three.
“It’s all about the start here. The first four corners here on race one are very tough. It’s carnage at the hairpins so I’ve got to keep out of trouble and hopefully pick up a few positions through other people’s mistakes.”
Getting a good Saturday result has been something Collard admits he has struggled with in 2016, saying: “It just shows how tough qualifying is in the BTCC. I’ve never had such bad qualifying form as I have done this season. I don’t really know what the problem is.”