Hampshire racer in BTCC action
Rob Collard leads his Collard Racing team to Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit this coming weekend for the penultimate meeting of the 2004 MSA Green Flag British Touring Car Championship season. With his Vauxhall Astra re-fettled after the all-action races round a tight and twisty Brands Hatch two weeks ago, the high-speed Snetterton layout will provide very different sorts of races, but Rob and his family run team are ready for the challenge.
“Snetterton is a very quick circuit,” says Rob, from Eversley in Hampshire. “You seem to spend a lot of time in a straight line and you have some very quick corners – like Coram and the Bombhole. It’s been good to me in the past, I won there in the Vectra Challenge and had my first BTCC class win there when we used to race at night at Snetterton.
“The main overtaking point on the circuit is at the end of the Revett Straight as you go under the bridge into the Esses. You brake as late as you can and turn in still braking – the modern Touring Cars handle so well that you do that. I’m usually one of the latest brakers out there, and that’s where I will be looking to gain places.
“The car needed some work after Brands Hatch – and virtually a full respray as it seemed every body panel was dented! We got through two rear bumpers, two sidepods, a front wing and a front splitter, but the guys have worked hard and it’s looking good now.
“Good finishes in the three races won’t be easy. Snetterton is a real power circuit and we’ll have to work hard, but we have gone well there before so we know what can be done. It might be a case of aiming for the tenth place finish in the first race – but we are also trying something new on the suspension this weekend, and I can’t wait to see how that works.”
Rob competes in the Independents category of the BTCC, for private teams, but in the races takes on the might of the factory teams and took a superb fourth overall at Oulton Park last year. In 2003 he won the Independents title – a superb achievement from the smallest team on the grid.