Pat Cranham, BTCC Correspondent
Rob Collard for the second time today has led home team mate Tom Onslow-Cole to claim a second eBay Motors BMW 1-2.
After victory in the first race the pair were on the front of the grid with Collard unchallenged to lead into the first corner, whilst Onslow-Cole, despite not getting the best start, was able to hold onto second from the Honda of Gordon Shedden. Further back Chris James, in his ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra, took to the grass spinning across the circuit taking out Dan Welch in his Welch Motorsport Proton and Lea Wood in his Binz Racing Vectra. Wood was able to continue albeit a long way back while Welch was forced to retire with damage; James was stuck in the gravel at turn 1 bringing out the safety car for 3 laps.
After the safety car Collard was simply able to drive away and was not touched to claim win number 2 of the day and said after the race, “Fabulous for eBay Motors they have done a good job this weekend. Without being arrogant yes it was pretty easy, as I came out of the hairpin I was even watching the big screen seeing Matt and Nick battle. I thought Gordon was going to come up behind so I just got the hammer down and went but the BMW has done so well today.”
Onslow-Cole didn’t have the match of his team mate but was able to keep Shedden behind comfortably for the rest of the race. After the race Onslow-Cole admitted his race wasn’t as easy as Collard’s and said, “My race was a bit more fraught. Rob had the legs on me, I was concerned with Flash but got to half way and I felt comfortable. I will probably be busier with the engineers than Rob and will have to nick his set up sheet. The set ups are not unduly different but with a bit of fine-tuning we’ll have it.”
After the race Shedden admitted he had no answer to the BMW’s but his third now takes him to the top of the standings and said, “That was slightly less eventful. I had no answer to the BMW’s and even with maximum ballast it didn’t slow Rob down. It seems really difficult to overtake so hopefully with the reverse grid there will be a bit of carnage that I can take advantage off, just as long as it doesn’t involve me! But I’m happy with the points and points make prizes!”
Just missing out on a podium was the superb Paul O’Neill standing in for Tony Hughes in the Speedworks Toyota Avensis. O’Neill was able to pass Aron Smith in the S2000 Ford Focus despite a bit of contact on lap 10.
Proving just how good the BMW was at Knockhill was Nick Foster in the third eBay Motors car as he managed to also pass Aron Smith for 5th with Smith picking up 6th. There was less good news for Redstone Racing team mate Mat Jackson who was holding 6th but on lap 21 he ran wide and also got a knock from Foster, running him further wide also losing places to the two Honda’s of Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Honda.
But there was a bigger problem for Jackson after his side exhaust slipped and as a result had fumes coming into the car. Constantly having to open the door probably caused Jackson to run wide and eventually forced him to retire from 9th on lap 21.
Neal lost a further place to Jordan as he lost the lead of the championship after he ran wide out of the chicane. Neal refused to give up the place and with door-to-door contact, ran further wide at the next corner, Carlube, and ran through the gravel.
As for Jason Plato his nightmare day continued as he only finished 11th in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG 6. Plato was behind the Pirtek Racing Civic of Jeff Smith as he put a move on the ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra of Dave Newsham, which also allowed Plato past.
Plato continued behind Jeff Smith but towards the end of the race dropped a lot of time, obviously with some sort of mechanical issue, and even lost 10th place to Newsham. This proved to be vital as number 10 was pulled out of the pot for the reverse grid meaning Newsham, who won race 3 last time out at Snetterton, will start on pole for his home race.
See the full report from Race 1 at Knockhill