Rob Collard: “BMW Has Achieved Masses In Donington Test”

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Rob Collard says that West Surrey Racing should expect to be at the sharp end after a successful first outing for its latest BMW engine in the official Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Media Day test at Donington.

Carrying a bespoke BMW powerplant for the official Media Day test at Donington Park, initial teething troubles consigned his BMW 125i to the garage early in proceedings.

Missing photo opportunities was not a concern for the 48-year-old, who completed 41 laps with the upgraded engine on his way to 12th place in the final classification, quickest of the WSR trio thanks to a final lap dash on fresh Dunlop rubber.

Impressed with reliability on the first day in anger for the latest BMW engine, Collard told The Checkered Flag “the new engine has worked really well today.

“We had a few little teething problems in the morning, however the engineers worked really hard and in the final 10 minutes of the day we were very strong after bolting some quicker tyres on the car to try for a proper time.

“It’s like anything when you introduce somethings new. You don’t know what to expect from it, but I’m very pleased most of all with just how reliably it has run.

“That’s the most important thing from today. It doesn’t matter that it’s quick or slow, it’s making sure that it’s reliable and both the oil pressures and water temperatures have been good.

“It feels almost like I haven’t achieved a lot today, but from an engineering point of view we’ve achieved masses. It was the quickest BMW by the end, so it proves to the world that we’re onto something good here.”

With WSR having grabbed early mileage during pre-season tests in Spain and at Brands Hatch prior to the visit to Donington, Collard also admitted that the BMW will bond well on Dunlop’s latest rubber for 2017.

Following on from his most competitive assault on the BTCC in 2016, the 2003 Independent champion expects BMW to be up at the sharp end once again this season.

“You know for a fact that the BMW brand is going to be good, plus the new Dunlop tyres suit our car very well”, said Collard, who finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship in 2016. “It all indicates that we’re going to be up towards the front.

“To be involved with BMW as a Manufacturer now gives us huge kudos as a team. It’s a great feeling.”

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