Luck Runs Out for Airwaves BMW at Knockhill Airwaves BMW drivers Rob Collard and Jonny Adam suffered a series of unlucky incidents in the latest round of the HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship at Knockhill as both cars were forced to retire from...
Luck Runs Out for Airwaves BMW at Knockhill
Airwaves BMW drivers Rob Collard and Jonny Adam suffered a series of unlucky incidents in the latest round of the HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship at Knockhill as both cars were forced to retire from the final race of the day.
Adam, seeking success on his home track, had worked his way up to fifth in Race Three and was in line to complete a hat trick of points finishes when his fire extinguisher went off in the car.
Meanwhile Rob Collard's title aspirations suffered a blow as he failed to score any points in the three races, with a crash taking him out of the first race and gearbox problems forcing his retirement from Race Three.
After his stunning qualifying performance on Saturday, Adam was perfectly placed to make a charge for the lead from the second row of the grid in Race One, but his hopes of gaining a podium finish were dealt a blow as he got bogged down off the line. Team-mate Collard took full advantage of Adam's slow start to move up to fourth, while the Scotsman settled into sixth place behind the Chevrolet of Mat Jackson.
Collard showed strong pace from the start and on lap 12, after exerting pressure on Colin Turkington, he passed the championship leader to move up to third. But his race was cruelly cut short three laps later as he was hit by the Vauxhall Vectra of Matt Neal. After attempting to pass Adam down the inside, Neal skidded on the damp grass going into Carlube and struck the unlucky Collard as he returned to the track.
With the safety car deployed the field bunched up, bringing race leader Jason Plato back to the chasing pack with local man Gordon Shedden leading the charge. Lying in fourth place following the retirement of his team-mate, Adam looked set to challenge for a podium but, as the safety car pulled off, he was passed by both Turkington and Fabrizio Giovanardi. With pride at stake in his home race the young Scot fought back to squeeze past the Italian in the final corner and earn fifth place.
The BMW Airwaves Team worked frenetically to repair the damage to the driveshaft and suspension on Collard's car in time for Race Two, successfully getting their man on the grid for the start. Pole sitter Jason Plato was forced into the pits with a misfire after the green flag lap, leaving Adam lying in fourth place as the race got underway. By the end of the first lap he had passed Giovanardi to move up to third, but under huge pressure from the chasing Italian he was forced back down to fourth on the next lap and slipped back a further place after being caught by Turkington on lap 4 as he struggled to find his rhythm.
The safety car was sent out on lap 12 bringing the field back together but, as in the first race, Adam again suffered after the restart slipping behind the Honda Integra of Paul O'Neill and Matt Neal's Vauxhall Vectra.
At the back of the grid Collard was using all of his experience to scythe through the field and the hard-charging Hampshireman soon found himself right behind his team-mate in ninth place. Just ahead, Adam passed Shedden's SEAT Leon to move back up to seventh leaving Collard to tussle with the local man for eighth place. As Shedden ran wide on lap 23 Collard edged his way through, but he tangled with the Scotsman later in the lap and was pushed back down to 12th and out of the points.
The draw for seeding in Race Three saw James Thompson handed pole while Adam lined up on the fourth row and Collard started two rows further back in 12th. Adam started well and moved up two places to fifth on the first lap. However the safety car came out again on lap 2 following a tangle between Collard and Shedden, with the later ending up in the gravel trap.
While behind the safety car on lap five Adam's fire extinguisher went off in the car and he was forced to retire. He was closely followed out of the race by team-mate Collard whose streak of bad luck continued with his car getting stuck in third gear.
To see the latest championship standings following the three rounds at Knockhill click here <http://www.btcc.net/html/standings.php> .
The HiQ MSA Touring Car Championship now moves to Silverstone on August 29/30.
Airwaves BMW Team Principal David Bartrum said:
"It's been a real roller coaster of a weekend at Knockhill, to have both cars retire in Race Three was truly heartbreaking especially when we had the BMWs performing so well amongst our peer group. However, to get some points is always a positive and we'll need to dig deep and come back with a real push at Silverstone."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Jonny Adam said:
"I've come away with two points finishes but it's been a disappointing day. I had a bad start in Race One and then Race Two was really the first time that we've struggled with the car all weekend. The fire extinguisher going off was just a freak thing. It has never happened to me before but it just goes to show that lady luck is not on our side at the moment. And it was even worse that it went off on live television so I had no choice but to come in. "
Airwaves BMW Team driver Rob Collard said:
"The car has been feeling really good and I was making up places in the last race and had got past some really good guys. But I don't think I'm a good person to be around at the moment with the way that my luck is going. It's so disappointing because I can see my championship slipping away and it seems to be out of my control at the moment. It's especially disappointing for the team as they put so much work into getting my car ready for this round but I hope that my luck will change soon."