Collard beats Smith and Plato to win BTCC opener

West Surrey Racing's Rob Collard took the first victory of the 2015 BTCC season at Brands Hatch after holding off Team BMR drivers Aron Smith and Jason Plato in a tight three-way battle.

Collard took the lead from his WSR team-mate Andy Priaulx at mid-distance, as the polesitter's soft compound tyres began to fade, having made a lightning getaway in his BMW 125i to vault from fifth on the grid to second on the opening lap.

The 46-year-old was then able to stave off the advances of the Team BMR duo Aron Smith and Jason Plato - who will start from pole for race two after securing the fastest lap of the race - for the remainder of the race to open his 2015 account in the best possible style.

"I could see Andy was pushing quite hard, but I knew from experience he would struggle [on softs]," said Collard. "I was catching him quickly at certain places, and when he made a slight mistake at Clearways I was able to get under him."

Behind, Jack Goff drove impeccably on his Triple Eight MG debut to keep the third BMR Volkswagen CC of reigning champion Colin Turkington and the leading factory Honda of Gordon Shedden at bay in an equally closely contested battle for fourth place.

The second works MG of Andrew Jordan finished seventh, ahead of Matt Neal's Honda Civic Type-R and Priaulx, who quickly dropped back through the pack as a result of his woes with the soft tyre.

Tom Ingram completed the top 10, the Speedworks Toyota driver forcing Adam Morgan's Mercedes A-Class on to the grass at Graham Hill at one point during their battle for position. Morgan recovered to finish 11th, ahead of Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Mercedes) and top Jack Sears runner Josh Cook (Racing for Heroes Chevrolet).

The third West Surrey BMW of Sam Tordoff endured a difficult opening race on soft tyres, dropping from eighth on the grid to 15th early on, where the 25-year-old would ultimately finish.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1 Rob Collard BMW 19m52.332
2 Aron Smith Volkswagen 0.411
3 Jason Plato Volkswagen 0.884
4 Jack Goff MG 5.464
5 Colin Turkington Volkswagen 5.726
6 Gordon Shedden Honda 5.819
7 Andrew Jordan MG 7.127
8 Matt Neal Honda 8.668
9 Andy Priaulx BMW 9.974
10 Tom Ingram Toyota 11.260
11 Adam Morgan Mercedes 12.763
12 Aiden Moffat Mercedes 21.151
13 Josh Cook Chevrolet 23.396
14 Rob Austin Audi 25.613
15 Sam Tordoff BMW 27.329
16 Martin Depper Honda 27.816
17 Dave Newsham Chevrolet 28.630
18 Hunter Abbott Audi 29.864
19 Jeff Smith Honda 30.229
20 Simon Belcher Toyota 35.200
21 Mike Bushell Ford 36.307
22 Warren Scott Volkswagen 44.622
23 Alex Martin Ford 44.804
24 Kieran Gallagher Toyota 45.991
25 Stewart Lines Toyota 47.425
Ret Derek Palmer Jr. Infiniti  
Ret Andy Wilmot Proton  

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About this article
Series BTCC
Event Brands Hatch
Track Brands Hatch
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Rob Austin , Jason Plato , Colin Turkington , Matt Neal , Robert Collard , Warren Scott , Graham Hill , Hunter Abbott , Derek Palmer , Gordon Shedden , Andrew Jordan , Martin Depper , Jeff Smith , Sam Tordoff , Dave Newsham , Aron Taylor-Smith , Adam Morgan , Jack Goff , Aiden Moffat , Tom Ingram , Simon Belcher , Alex Martin , Andy Wilmot , Stewart Lines , Kieran Gallagher , Mike Bushell , Josh Cook
Teams West Surrey Racing , Team BMR
Article type Race report