Brands Hatch: Airwaves BMW preview

Airwaves BMW Keen to Extend Brands Hatch Purple Patch Airwaves BMW will try to make home advantage count and continue its record of success at the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit when the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship reaches...

Airwaves BMW Keen to Extend Brands Hatch Purple Patch

Airwaves BMW will try to make home advantage count and continue its record of success at the world-famous Brands Hatch circuit when the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship reaches its thrilling conclusion this weekend.

In the last six BTCC races held at the Kent track the outfit run by Motorbase Performance has collected five podiums, including a maiden win at the start of the 2009 season. With its headquarters only a few miles from the circuit these results mean even more to the members of the team, which is backed by a huge support whenever its cars race at its local venue.

While Airwaves BMW will be going all-out to add to a great run of results at Brands Hatch in the final three rounds of the 2009 BTCC season, the Wrotham-based team will face a tough challenge due to the fact that the races will take place on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. All of its previous results were scored on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy circuit, and the team has never competed on the full 2.3mile GP layout.

This challenge will add another unique facet to the task facing both the Airwaves BMW engineers and drivers, as they plot a way to spoil their rivals' title party and finish the season on a high as they did in 2008.

Rob Collard has experience of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit having raced there in 2005 while competing for arch-rivals WSR. The Hampshireman also shone at Brands in the first round of the 2009 championship, claiming dominant win in race number two to hand his team its first-ever BTCC victory.

The experienced racer endured desperately bad luck in the previous HiQ MSA Championship event at Rockingham two weeks ago, with mechanical difficulties forcing him to retire from two of the three races despite claiming a fine fourth in the one he did finish. Collard will be looking to show he can get back on the trophy rail with a trouble-free run at Brands Hatch this weekend.

Team-mate Jonny Adam will also sniff a chance of silverware as he returns to the scene of his spectacular entry into the world of Touring Car racing. On the opening day of the 2009 season the young Scotsman showed his more experienced rivals a clean pair of heels in the third race of the day and took the chequered flag by a distance. However, the was subsequently demoted to second place following the race having been adjudged to have made unnecessary contact with Jason Plato while passing the veteran at Paddock Hill bend early in the race.

Having proved he can mix it with the big names Adam will want to underline his credentials once again at Brands Hatch and show he can be a force to be reckoned with in the BTCC in 2010. The BRDC Superstar scheme member has learned with every race in 2009, and is gunning for a chance to show that he can win on a regular basis now that he has the experience to go with his potential.

With the BTCC title still to be decided the final round of the championship is sure to be a fiercely contested affair, and all the action can be seen live on ITV4. For full details of TV coverage from Brands Hatch check out www.btcc.net

Airwaves BMW Team Principal David Bartrum said:

"Where has this season gone? Times flies when you are having fun! It's great to finish the year where you started it, especially at an amazing circuit like Brands Hatch, and as a team we are especially lucky as we get two home rounds every year. We've got a tradition of success to keep up as we always seem to go well there. The second half of the season hasn't gone exactly to plan as we've been pretty unlucky with some incidents that have stopped us getting results we deserved. However, we've really upped our game this season in terms of our qualifying pace and when we've finished we've almost always been in the points. We've also scored our first win and taken more podiums than ever before, so we have progressed again. Now we are really looking forward to the challenge of racing on the GP circuit at Brands Hatch. We're working in the dark a little in terms of setup because we have never raced it as a team, but that just adds to the excitement. It will be tough for everyone competing though because I don't think there is anything else like it in the country. It's very satisfying for a driver when they get a lap spot-on around the GP circuit, but they have to work very hard for it. I'll be making certain our drivers are working very hard indeed to give all of our supporters a great finish to the year."

Airwaves BMW Team driver Rob Collard said:

"I'm delighted to be racing at Brands Hatch this weekend. The GP circuit is one of the most famous in the world so each time you get to drive it it's a privilege. I hold the lap record on it in a Touring Car so I'm keen to go back there in a BMW and try to top that. As a team we've been excellent at Brands Hatch both last year and this year, so if we can continue our recent good qualifying form and make sure we are in the top six for race one then we will have a chance to be right up there challenging for podium finishes. Between myself and Jonny [Adam] I feel we have the ability to get very strong results at Brands Hatch but it's going to be interesting to see how other drivers perform there under pressure. There will be a few people out there involved in the title battle and we want to make sure we don't get involved in anything with those guys. Hopefully they will be too busy fighting each other for places and that will let us get away at the front and go for a win. It's going to be a very exciting weekend of racing and we want to make sure Airwaves BMW is the centre of attention by getting some top results at the team's home circuit."

Airwaves BMW Team driver Jonny Adam said:

"We have a good record at Brands Hatch as a team and it seems to suit the BMW 320si, so there's no reason we can't be up compete for podiums again. The Grand Prix layout is new to a lot of drivers on the grid so that should make for some interesting setup choices. It's a longer lap but it has quick corners and you can take a lot of kerb to pick up time. It will be great to race it and it's a fantastic way to finish the season for both drivers and fans. If we can repeat what we did when we came here at the start of the championship that would be a really nice way to end the year, especially in front of all our supporters and sponsors. It's been an exciting first season in the BTCC for myself, and I've learned a massive amount both on and off the track. I don't think I've been overawed though and I've shown I have the ability to be up there in the top six on a regular basis. Now I want to take everything I've learned this year and turn it into a really strong challenge for silverware next season."

-credit: til

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