Airwaves BMW Scores in Rain and Shine at Croft Airwaves BMW scored points an all three races of the HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship at Croft in what turned out to be a day of weather extremes. In the blistering heat of the first two races Rob...
Airwaves BMW Scores in Rain and Shine at Croft
Airwaves BMW scored points an all three races of the HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship at Croft in what turned out to be a day of weather extremes.
In the blistering heat of the first two races Rob Collard finished just off the podium, picking up two fine fourth places, while team-mate Jonny Adam took a seventh and a DNF after an engine problem forced him to retire. In the torrential rain of race three the Airwaves duo splashed their way to solid top ten slots, with Collard finishing seventh and Adam ninth.
The points haul from Croft means that the Kent-based Airwaves BMW squad goes into the six-week summer break in third place overall in the BTCC championship, and second in the independents' standings.
Glorious summer sunshine was beating down on Croft Circuit as the field lined up on the grid for race one. When the lights went out both Airwaves BMWs made an excellent start, with Rob Collard blasting off the line and grabbing three places to go seventh and Jonny Adam mixing it with former BTCC champions James Thompson and Matt Neal for eighth. Four laps in and Collard was up to sixth and pressuring Harry Vaulkhard ahead of him, while Jonny Adam was 10th but in the process of sizing up the three works Vauxhalls immediately in front. Both Airwaves BMW men benefited from Matt Jackson crashing out on lap seven, moving Collard up to fifth and Adam ninth. As the race entered its second half the BMWs began to gain ground as the tyres of their front-wheel-drive rivals began to go off in the heat. Collard picked off Vaulkhard on lap 11 to take fourth, and on lap 12 Adam took advantage of a coming together between Matt Neal and Vaulkhard to snatch seventh. The race was then ended two laps prematurely when the red flag was brought out after serious shunt involving the ubiquitous Vaulkhard and Tom Chilton.
Starting race two from fourth and seventh Airwaves BMW drivers Rob Collard were looking to push on and challenge for podium finishes. Collard started in his trademark fashion by exploding away from the line and sweeping past Jason Plato's Chevrolet to take third place, while team-mate Jonny Adam also sailed past one of the works Vauxhalls. However, Adam's promising start was curtailed when an engine problem forced him to retire to the pits on lap two, ending the young Scot's race. Collard meanwhile was becoming engaged in a close battle with Plato, and was forced to use all his defensive driving skills to keep the Chevrolet behind him at bay. He did so until lap 10 when Plato managed to sneak past, and Collard had to be content with his second fourth place finish of the day.
The reverse grid for race three saw Rob Collard drawn in seventh place, while Jonny Adam started 17th after the Airwaves BMW mechanics performed heroically to fit a replacement engine to his 320si and get him out onto the grid for the final race of the day. However, the weather had changed dramatically and the start of race three was marked by a monsoon-like downpour that made condition treacherous for all competitors. That didn't seem to faze Jonny Adam as the tenacious Scotsman made waves by cruising straight from 17th to 10th by the first corner. Team-mate Rob Collard also took off like a rocket and sailed into fourth place on lap one. The race was then seriously disrupted as a number of racers fell foul of the heavy water on track. The safety car was called out three times and the majority of the race was run under yellow flag conditions. In the end Collard and Adam collected a seventh and eighth place finish respectively, chalking up more valuable championship points.
Airwaves BMW will resume its 2009 HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship campaign after the six-week summer break at Snetterton in Norfolk on August 2.
Airwaves BMW Team Principal David Bartrum said:
"That was a hard fought day of racing, but we didn't quite come away with the rewards we deserved for our efforts. Rob Collard did really well to pick up to good fourth place finishes, and we're really grateful for those points and the ones Jonny took in races one and three. It has to be said the boys in the garage did a phenomenal job to get Jonny fixed up and back out for race three by replacing his whole engine, and this time last year at Croft we'd have been delighted with those results. We've moved on since then though and we're aiming to take a lot more than that from each round now. We've had a pretty good first half of the season and will come back even stronger after the summer, just like we did last year. I'm looking forward to some of the tracks that are coming up and I'm sure both Rob and Jonny will come back re-charged and ready to go looking for more wins."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Rob Collard said:
"What a day. I was happy to get two fourths in the first two races, as the car wasn't quite the way we wanted it but we still managed to score well. The conditions were very, very treacherous in race three though. We dominated in the wet at Donington but it must've been a different type of rain falling at Croft today because we couldn't quite find the same pace. I'm just glad to have scored points in all three races and kept myself in the championship, because consistency is the key in this race series. It's been a bit of mixed first half of the year for us. To take two wins so far is excellent but I feel we've lost a few good results in incidents that have been no fault of our own, and that's been tough. I'm looking forward to having a nice relaxing holiday with the family over the summer then coming back on the attack when it all starts again at Snetterton. We came on strong as a team in the second half of last season and I will be looking for us to do the same again."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Jonny Adam said:
"Two points scores was today was good, it was just disappointing my engine went in race two and I missed my target of scoring in all three races for the first time. I'm really grateful to my mechanics for getting me back out for race three, they worked so hard and deserve a lot of credit producing a strong car after all that. I just nailed the start in race three and found so much space down the inside. Everyone seemed to be going backwards and I could maybe even have pinched a couple more places before turn one, but I decided to be sensible given how bad the conditions were. It's been a rollercoaster first half of the season for me with a lot of high and lows, but I've really enjoyed my first year in the BTCC so far. The team have been great and if we just find a little more consistency we definitely have the ability to produce more really good results in the second half of the championship."